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In facilitation preparation, scoping and agility are essential


This article examines the ATO’s in-house facilitation process and how that process might be used to generate solutions to seemingly intractable problems quickly, economically and efficiently by allowing for an agreed narrowing or confining of the issues. The article identifies the basic requirements for a successful facilitation and observes that facilitation does not provide a soft option for a lazy or under-prepared practitioner.

The article considers a range of disputes that have been addressed within facilitation, examines two difficult disputes handled within the process in more detail, and highlights the importance of a well-chosen facilitator while identifying problems that still exist within the facilitation model. The article concludes by identifying some traps for the unwary and noting that facilitation is more than the horse-trading exercise some assume it to be.

Author profile

Christopher Wallis CTA
Chris commenced practice as a Barrister in 1991 and 27 years later has a strong no nonsense reputation throughout Australia in the fields of equity and revenue law. Chris’ focus is on keeping clients out of the AAT and Court using attention to detail and negotiation to secure certainty for clients at the earliest opportunity, a focus which has involved him in numerous in-house facilitation sessions. Chris is a regularly published author and a member of the Editorial Board of the Australian Tax Law Bulletin and also of the Australasian Tax Teachers Association (ATTA). Chris presents regularly throughout Australia for the professional bodies and ATTA and has completed studies in international tax at the Institute for Austrian and International Tax Law at Wirtschafts Universitat in Vienna and the IBFD in Amsterdam. Two of Chris' recently published articles have addressed issues arising under the ATO's in-house facilitation process. Subsequent changes to the process reflected observations in the articles. - Current at 08 October 2019
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