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15 Aug 13 Decision Impact Statement - Collection Point

The ATO has published a Decision Impact Statement in relation to the decision of the Full Court of the Federal Court in Collection Point Pty Ltd v FCT [2013] FCAFC 67.

The case concerned whether the Commissioner had to provide certain information under the Freedom of Information Act 1982 ("FOI Act").

The taxpayer ran a commercial business to help people retrieve unclaimed money. It applied for information contained in a register kept by the Commissioner under the Superannuation (Unclaimed Money and Lost Members) Act 1999.

The Commissioner could not produce the document requested without writing a new computer program. This led the Commissioner to reject the application under s 24A of the FOI Act because the document did not exist.

Before the AAT, the taxpayer argued that s 17(1) of the FOI Act nevertheless required the Commissioner to produce the document. The AAT construed s 17(1) and found it did not apply to the taxpayer's request because the document could not be produced by a computer 'ordinarily available'. On appeal, the Federal Court agreed with AAT's construction.

The Decision Impact Statement states that the decision of the Full Court is consistent with the Commissioner's submissions in the case.


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