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In-house facilitation, test cases and the AAT Small Business Division


The ATO has a range of intervention strategies that assist access to justice and the resolution of disputes. The ATO’s in-house facilitation offers a flexible and rapid approach towards the resolution of disputes that is available at any stage of a dispute and not limited to any category of dispute. The test case litigation program provides financial assistance to taxpayers to meet some or all of their reasonable litigation costs that are associated with clarifying tax, superannuation and, in some instances, debt related issues. The Small Business Taxation Division of the Administrative Appeals Tribunal was created as part of broader government policy to assist small businesses appealing the outcome of a dispute with the ATO. Self-represented small businesses in dispute with the ATO also benefit from additional support from the Small Business Concierge Service, and where the ATO engages an external legal provider, the ATO will fund reasonable costs for equivalent legal representation.

Author profiles

Karen Bell
Karen is the Test Case Litigation Secretariat for the ATO Test Case Litigation Program. She is also an ATO In-House facilitator and, alongside Ram, she coordinates ATO In-House Facilitation in the Sydney Region. Karen has been in the tax office for 18 years and has a broad experience in the areas of Advice, Client Engagement, Objections and Litigation. She is also an officer in the Royal Australian Airforce Reserves and holds a commerce degree, majoring in accounting, from the University of Western Sydney. - Current at 18 June 2019
Ram Pandey
Ram is a principal lawyer in Review and Dispute Resolution in the ATO. Ram has been with the ATO for over 12 years working on tax appeals in the AAT and Federal Court. Prior to joining the ATO, Ram worked as a lawyer with Jones Dapy LLP in their corporate practice and before that at KPMG as a tax consultant. Ram has degrees in economics and law from the University of Sydney, a Masters of Law from the University of Sydney and a Certificate in American Law from UC Berkeley. - Current at 18 June 2019
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