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Governance, Tax, Technology; 3 words, one concept

Governance, Tax, Technology; 3 words, one concept

Phillip Beswick explores the connection between tax governance and the role of technology.


Director, Tax Governance & Transformation

KPMG Australia


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At the Tax Institute, Victoria Forum, held over 11 and 12 October 2018, Phillip Beswick who heads Tax Governance for KPMG jointly presented with the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) on ‘Technology and Justified Trust’.

The four key topics that came out of that session were:

  • The ATO’s ongoing endeavour to build a single data model view of each corporate taxpayer using a range of data sources.
  • Running data analytics across that data model to provide ‘signals’ of tax risk.
  • Use of the four pillars of Justified Trust [*Understanding an entity's tax governance framework, Identifying risks flagged to the market, Understanding significant and new transactions and Understanding why the accounting and tax results vary] as a basis for defining data needs.
  • The potential increased use of agreed upon procedures or similar by the ATO to attain greater comfort on data accuracy.

One of the concepts here the ATO talks in terms of is ‘positive assurance’, and how controls and reviews of data will become increasingly important in supporting this. Also on this point, in a separate session on tax governance, the ATO reiterated their increased focus on independent testing of tax controls.

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