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In media release No 2012/081, issued 31 July 2012, the Assistant Treasurer and Minister Assisting for Deregulation, David Bradbury, announced the release of the Inspector-General of Taxation's (IGOT's) Review into the Australian Taxation Office's use of early and Alternative Dispute Resolution (Report). 

In this Report, the IGOT examined the effectiveness of the ATO's dispute resolution practices including early dispute resolution and alternative dispute resolution (ADR).

The IGOT found that, at a high level, the ATO is committed to early engagement with taxpayers to resolve disputes.  However, he also identified some areas in which he considered the ATO could improve and strengthen its practices - reflected in the 22 recommendations in the Report.

The ATO agrees with 20 of the 21 recommendations directed to it, either fully, in principle or in part.

The IGOT's remaining recommendation is for the Government.  The IGOT suggests the Government consider amending the tax laws to give the Commissioner of Taxation the power to extend the objection period, at the taxpayer's request, prior to the expiry of this period for the purpose of engaging in ADR processes.

The Government agrees that it is important to encourage taxpayers and the ATO to engage in ADR.  However, as the objection system forms a key element of the self-assessment regime, the Government will give detailed consideration to this recommendation once it receives the IGOT's report from his current review into improving the self-assessment system.


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