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On 12 August 2009, the ATO issued a Decision Impact Statement in relation to the Full Federal Court decision in Dixon atf the Dixon Holdsworth Superannuation Fund v FCT. The case concerned a consideration of factors relevant to the exercise of a discretion to remit penalty.

Initially, the AAT affirmed the objection decision in respect of the assessment of penalty but varied the decision in respect of remission of the penalty, finding that, as no refund of the input tax credit claim had been made, "no harm was done". On appeal to the Federal Court, the judge at first instance held that that the remission discretion may only be exercised in "special circumstances". On appeal to the Full Court, the Full Federal Court held that there is nothing in the legislative scheme to suggest that special circumstances must be established and remitted the matter to the AAT to determine whether the imposition of the penalty was "harsh, having regard to the particular circumstances of the Taxpayer" (at paragraph 27). That not being the case, the AAT affirmed the objection decision.

The Decision Impact Statement states that the decision is consistent with the Commissioner's view and with the manner in which the exercise of the remission discretion is currently administered.

For a copy of the Decision Impact Statement, go here


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