The Inspector-General of Taxation and Taxation Ombudsman (IGTO) has released the report of its investigation into the Australian Taxation Office’s (ATO’s) systems and processes for dealing with deceased estates – Death and Taxes: An Investigation Into Australian Taxation Office Systems And Processes For Dealing With Deceased Estates.

Key Findings & Recommendations

Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) data shows that more than 80 per cent of deceased individuals are over the age of 65 at their time of death. Furthermore, other sources suggest 45% of Australians die intestate – without a valid will.

Based on this data it follows intuitively, according to the IGTO’s analysis, a deceased’s recent interactions with the tax system may have been limited but interactions with other agencies, such as Services Australia (which includes Medicare) may have been frequent. Hence, the report recommends that the ATO explores opportunities to collaborate with other agencies and service providers to simplify the end of life experience and reduce red tape and compliance, for example in relation death notification and current address and contact details.

A further significant recommendation to facilitate matters for deceased estates would be to allow digital notification of death including by registered tax practitioners.

Read the full report, the short summary and the ATO’s response.

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