The ATO should consult with taxpayers, tax practitioners and their representative bodies on ways to improve its Decision Impact Statements (DIS’s). Such consultation should consider:
- communicating those parts of the ATO’s view (for example, the paragraphs in the relevant public rulings, etc.) that are being reviewed as a result of the adverse decision;
- improving the timeliness of DIS’s, including issuing a draft DIS particularly where a final DIS is likely to be delayed beyond the 8 week timeframe; and
- improving transparency of the ATO’s DIS’s by:
- explaining the material facts that distinguish the application of the ATO view for those unfavourable decisions that do not lead to a change in ATO view; and
- publishing a compendium of feedback in the DIS’s, and its consideration of the issues raised in that feedback.
We agreed with this recommendation and implementation was completed on 19 November 2013.
We consulted with the NTLG Dispute Resolution Sub-Committee and Legal Practitioners Forum on changes to the Decision Impact Statement (DIS) process, timeliness and content.
Following that consultation, a new DIS template, incorporating instructions for its completion, was implemented.
Timeliness benchmarks for the completion of DISs have been published to staff, and all cases are monitored and followed up on an ongoing basis by the publications team. Interim DISs are published in situations where a DIS is unlikely to issue within the eight week timeframe. DISs are updated as necessary to reflect additional impacts identified, status of review of ATO documents, etc.