"Relationships with the Tax Office during the year have been considerably strained in respect of some reviews, with several legal opinions being sought on either issues identified in a review or on the scope of my powers to obtain information generally. The Treasury, as coordinator of the Treasury portfolio, has also been involved in some of these matters. Obtaining legal opinions on my information gathering powers has been undertaken jointly and cooperatively across the three Treasury portfolio agencies.
The review into aspects of the Tax Office’s litigation management, in particular, could have proceeded more smoothly and quickly had the Tax Office shared information with me earlier than it did, especially legal opinions it sought in connection with the review. However, these difficulties have not been the universal experience. Tax Office cooperation and responsiveness has been satisfactory in other instances.
The impact on my Office’s productivity has been frustrating; but I believe that these experiences will generally turn out to be positive and provide a new platform for relationships into the future. The legal opinion on my information gathering powers both uphold the strength of my ability to undertake reviews as intended by the Parliament and clarify the approaches which should be followed by all concerned."
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