Friday, 22 June 2018 Sydney

Statement on Shamir matter::

The ATO investigates all allegations from employees and taxpayers of improper or illegal conduct in the course of administering the tax and super systems. We have an internal, independent team dedicated to investigating fraud cases and ensuring the ATO’s actions are appropriate, consistent with the law and principles of procedural fairness.

We have a very strong culture of integrity in the ATO and our procedures, controls and monitoring systems work well. We have had an extremely low incidence of fraud, corruption or serious misconduct by ATO staff in the ATO’s history and it is a very rare thing for there to be any doubt about the honesty of the people in the ATO.

The facts of the matter aired again in media today are that the ATO terminated Mr Shamir’s employment in 2015 for non-performance of duties. Mr Shamir’s role changed from profiler to auditor following an internal restructure and the ATO made every effort over two years to accommodate his preferences and development needs.

In July 2016 the full bench of the Fair Work Commission (FWC) dismissed unfair dismissal proceedings launched by Mr Shamir, finding that the dismissal was not harsh, unjust or unreasonable.

In handing down its decision, the full bench of the FWC stated:

We are persuaded that the dismissal was a result of the Respondent's unjustified non-performance of duties, and was not a result of "capricious, fanciful, spiteful or prejudiced" reasoning. As such, having considered the submissions of the parties and the relevant authorities, we are of the view that there was a valid reason for the dismissal of the Respondent in accordance with s 387(a) of the FW Act ([2016} FWCFB 4185 at [52}).

All other claims and complaints made by Mr Shamir have been considered, investigated and found to lack substance and Mr Shamir has been advised of the outcomes. Importantly, this has included a review by the Inspector-General of Taxation who also concluded there was no claim made by Mr Shamir that required further investigation. The ATO has cooperated fully with a number of requests and representations made on Mr Shamir’s behalf, including those made by Members of Parliament, and to date, all have been satisfied the ATO acted appropriately.

It is usual practice in mediations and settlements of disputes for ATO settlement deeds to include confidentiality clauses and requirements to discontinue complaints and legal actions. This ensures the dispute is fully and finally settled for both parties. This is standard practice and does not reflect any attempt by the Commissioner to silence the other party. Indeed in this matter, Mr Shamir’s claims have already been made public through the Fair Work Commission and other investigative processes. We would also note that all ATO legal disputes and settlements are conducted in accordance with the requirements of the Attorney General’s Legal Services Directions.