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Michael D’Ascenzo to leave ATO

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Michael D’Ascenzo, a leading figure in multilateral cooperation against offshore tax evasion, is stepping down as the Commissioner of the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) at the end of 2012, when his seven-year term is up.

The government will announce his replacement in the coming weeks.

Mr D'Ascenzo has positioned the ATO for a strong future by driving on-line, service, cultural and technological change, and has put the taxpayer at the heart of the ATO's thinking,” said Wayne Swan, Australia’s Deputy Prime Minister and Treasurer, and David Bradbury, the minister assisting deregulation.

D’Ascenzo, as well as being responsible for running the ATO, has been associated with initiatives designed to prompt company managers to pay more attention to their organisations’ tax affairs.

D’Ascenzo also made a name for himself, along with the UK and US tax commissioners, in the fight against offshore tax evasion. Since 2008, he has been a vice-chairman of the OECD’s Forum on Tax Administration, which brings together tax commissioners from more than 40 countries to discuss issues of mutual interest.

And Australia was one of the founding members in April 2004 of the Joint International Tax Shelter Information Centre, which enables different countries to share information about tax arbitrage.

The Institute of Chartered Accountants Australia said the outgoing commissioner had overseen a number of important reforms such as the introduction of the capital gains tax, the goods and services tax and the new minerals resource rent tax.

D'Ascenzo won the Editor's Choice award for outstanding achievement at International Tax Review's Asia Tax Awards in 2010.

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