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  • Appendix 3: Legal services expenditure

    Our total legal expenditure for 2017–18 increased by $2.1 million (or 2%) when compared to the previous year. This was primarily due to an increase in the provision of ATO funding for litigation in insolvency matters. The increase was due to a significant rise in demand for the ATO to fund cases, in order for insolvency practitioners to effectively administer matters involving wide-ranging compliance issues and impacts to a range of creditors including employees.

    TABLE 5.8 Legal services expenditure, 2017–18(a)(b)

    Type of expenditure

    $

    Total costs recovered

    26,838,348

    Briefs to counsel

    13,533,684

    Disbursements (excluding counsel)

    25,001,785

    Professional fees paid

    21,161,621

    External legal services expenditure(c)

    59,697,090

    Internal legal services expenditure(d

    28,844,455

    Total (external and internal) expenditure

    88,541,545

    Notes:
    (a) Includes Tax Practitioners Board (TPB) legal costs for 2017–18. Total TBP external legal services expenditure was $172,255. Total internal legal services expenditure for TPB was $2,338,269.
    (b) External expenditure in this table excludes GST.
    (c) Excludes costs awarded against the ATO, costs for settlements, expenditure on compensation, and legal costs attributable to the ATO’s test case program.
    (d) ATO internal legal officers manage tax litigation (under Part IVC of the Taxation Administration Act 1953), debt litigation, general legal advice and freedom of information. This amount consists of the cost of labour and expenses for those activities. Some ATO employees perform functions with some characteristics of legal work (for example, preparation of writs, statutory demands and bankruptcy notices) and provide interpretative advice on complex areas of tax and superannuation law. These activities are not undertaken by legal officers and are therefore not included in this amount.
    TABLE 5.9 Number and value of briefs to counsel, 2017–18(a)

    Type of brief

    Number

    Value
    $

    Briefs to male counsel

    732

    Briefs to female counsel

    336

    Total number of briefs to counsel

    1,068

    Direct briefs to male counsel

    338

    Direct briefs to female counsel

    166

    Total number of direct briefs to counsel

    504

    Briefs to male counsel (including direct briefs)

    9,918,346

    Briefs to female counsel (including direct briefs)

    3,615,338

    Total value of briefs to counsel

    13,533,684

    Note:
    (a) ‘Direct’ briefs cover counsel briefed directly by the ATO and who work with our in-house litigators and/or business areas. ‘Indirect' briefs are counsel briefed by the ATO's external legal providers acting on behalf of the ATO.
      Last modified: 26 Oct 2018QC 57111