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The Tax Office’s handling of dispute resolution is receiving significant focus at present. Both the House of Representatives Tax and Revenue Committee and the Inspector-General of Taxation are conducting inquiries into the matter.

As reported to us by members, over the past 18 months, we have noticed genuine and significant improvements in the way that tax disputes are handled by the ATO.

However, there remains room for improvement in a number of areas, including:

  • Engagement and cooperation at review and audit stage;
  • Flexibility in internal ATO timeframes, in particular to avoid the unnecessary escalation or progression of a matter that may otherwise have been resolved or limited;
  • Opportunities for early engagement and resolution outside of the large business and high wealth individual areas;
  • Technical expertise within the ATO; and
  • Independence at objection and independent review stages.

Structural change to the way that objections, reviews and litigation are managed within the ATO may be constructive. On balance, the Tax Institute supports the establishment of a separate appeals area within the ATO.

You may view our complete submission to the Parliamentary Committee here.

We look forward to engaging further in the coming weeks with the Tax and Revenue Committee and the Inspector-General on these important issues.

Kind regards

Robert Jeremenko CTA