Miscellaneous 2005

Confidential tax communication: A right or a privilege?

Source: Australian Tax Forum Journal Article

Published Date: 1 Oct 2005


Legal professional privilege protects the confidentiality of certain communications between a legal advisor and client, but does not extend to protect the confidentiality of advice from advisors other than legal advisors. With much taxation advice being provided by non-legal advisors, a disparity exists between the confidentiality afforded legal and non-legal advice.

By way of background, this paper outlines the rationale underlying the doctrine of legal professional privilege. Against this background the paper then examines the alternative approaches of Australian and New Zealand authorities in addressing this disparity in the confidentiality of tax advice. While Australia has adopted an administrative approach to provide some confidentiality to non-legal advice, New Zealand has opted for a legislative solution to provide an equivalent to legal professional privilege for advice from accountants. The paper contrasts these divergent approaches in terms of the scope of operation and outcomes.

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Miscellaneous 2005

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