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New laws put ATO to the test

TAX Commissioner Michael D'Ascenzo has warned his organisation's ''scarce resources'' will be put under pressure by a flood of new laws, including the carbon and mining taxes and superannuation reforms.

''Next year part of our work is implementing these major legislative proposals so we're going to be squeezed in terms of our capabilities across the board,'' Mr D'Ascenzo said.

Both the carbon price and resources rent tax go into operation on July 1 next year, while the Gillard government's Stronger Super reforms are set for July 1, 2013.

Mr D'Ascenzo said setting up databases required under the Stronger Super reforms was ''a really challenging piece of work for us''.

He said the policy required the ATO to ''insource'' backroom work currently done by funds and set up a website where workers can view their superannuation positions.

When complete, the system will also validate the details of accounts and help workers consolidate multiple accounts.


''That's a big risky project for me next year,'' Mr D'Ascenzo said. ''Basically from July 1, 2013, we hope to have an individuals portal up that enables people to do this.'' He said the project would encourage businesses to do more online, reducing compliance costs and making them more efficient.

The ATO's initial role in administering the carbon price would be limited to fuel tax credits, he said.

''We may well be right in there when you have a permit trading scheme, but at this stage that's not in place for another few years.''

However, the new mining tax, which will be imposed on iron ore and coal producers who have annual profits higher than $75 million, will be administered by the ATO.

Asked if the ATO had enough resources to collect the tax, he said: ''There is a question … you're never going to hear me say we've got all the capability I need to do what we want to do.''