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Managing a tax audit


Successful management, on a client’s behalf, of a tax audit initiated by the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) will depend on the tax agent’s communication skills, mostly written, but increasingly involving face-to-face or phone-to-phone contact. Although the ATO wants to provide a consistent response to make sure that the tax issues relating to the same facts are decided in the same way, a consistent outcome may not always be possible in given circumstances. This article discusses the progress of a tax audit and offers practical advice as to how the tax agent might deal with each stage of the audit.

The article considers the triggers of a review or audit, the types of review and audit activity, and how to manage the initial ATO contact, the interview, and the audit itself, including questions of voluntary disclosure, information flow, and the position paper. The article concludes with a question and answer summary.

Author profiles

Adrian Abbott CTA
Adrian is a tax consultant and brings 35 years’ experience in accounting and tax for his widely diverse client base. In the last five years he has focused on risk reviews and dispute resolution with the ATO and the OSR. He is a member of the Taxation Institute's Dispute Resolution Committee and promotes to Practitioners the benefits of the ATO's initiative in the facilitation process. - Current at 07 March 2018
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Kevin Munro CTA
Kevin Munro is a solicitor and principal of Munro Lawyers. He has 40 years’ experience in tax and superannuation, forming his own firm, Munro Lawyers (initially called Kevin Munro & Associates) in 1994. Kevin provides advice to clients, particularly professional firms and their clients, in respect of tax planning, superannuation, estate planning and wills, and he regularly acts as a consultant for other professional firms. Kevin is active in professional education and gives lectures and workshops for various professional organisations. He was a member of the NSW Law Society’s Advisory Committee for Small Business Accreditation. Kevin is a Certified Tax Practitioner of the Tax Institute and a fellow of the Society of Trustees and Estate Planners. Kevin also holds a Masters Degree in Commerce, a Bachelors Degree in Agricultural Economics and Diploma of Law, and is a 1979 Churchill Fellow. - Current at 21 July 2017
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