Go to top of page

Overview of the Agency

Role and functions of the IGTO

The IGTO was established as an independent Commonwealth, statutory agency in 2003. The agency’s functions were later expanded in 2015 to include those of the Taxation Ombudsman. This expanded service received bipartisan support.

Our role is to improve tax administration for the benefit of the community. Our objectives are to:

  • provide a specialised tax complaints investigation service to the Australian community;
  • identify and prioritise areas of tax administration for improvement through our complaints investigation service and consultation with the community; and
  • conduct review investigations into the areas identified and provide independent advice and recommendations to the Minister, the Government, the ATO and the TPB through public reporting.

Our purpose

Our purpose is:

  1. To improve the administration of taxation laws for the benefit of the community.
  2. To provide independent advice and assurance (to individual taxpayers, agencies or the community in general) through investigation, review and reporting that Australian taxation administration laws and systems are operating effectively and consistent with community expectations.

IGTO’s Accountable Authority

Details of our accountable authority during the reporting period is outlined in Table 2 below.

Table 2: Details of Accountable Authority during the reporting period

Period as the Accountable Authority


Position Title/Position held

Date of Commencement

Date of Cessation

Karen Payne

Inspector-General of Taxation and Taxation Ombudsman

6 May 2019

30 June 2020

Karen Payne was appointed as the Inspector-General of Taxation and Taxation Ombudsman by the Governor-General commencing on 6 May 2019. Ms Payne leads the Taxation Ombudsman complaints investigation service for taxpayers and advisers and the Inspector-General of Taxation’s review investigation and public reporting function, both of which are directed at improving the tax administration system for all taxpayers.

Before joining the IGTO, Ms Payne was a Member of the Board of Taxation as well as its inaugural Chief Executive Officer. She was formerly a partner with MinterEllison, specialising in corporate and international tax for mergers and acquisitions, and capital raising for the financial services, mining, energy, and utilities sectors. Her career includes a broad range of experience (legal, accounting, audit, education and tax return preparation) across a diverse range of taxpayers (including individuals, trusts, companies and partnerships) and market segments (small business, multinationals, public, private and listed property, equity, infrastructure and managed investment trusts).

Ms Payne is a solicitor admitted in New South Wales and is a member of:

  • Chartered Accountants Australia and New Zealand;
  • The Tax Institute; and
  • Australian Institute of Company Directors.