Show download pdf controls
  • Recommendation 6.1

    In working towards a fully functioning independent appeals area to be headed by a new Second Commissioner, as set out in the IGTO’s October 2011 submission to the Tax Forum, the IGTO recommends that the ATO establish a pilot ‘Appeals Section’:

    • under the leadership of the current Second Commissioner — Law to carry out the objection and litigation function for the most complex cases
    • establish clear protocols regarding communication between Appeal officers and compliance officers, including a general prohibition against ex parte communication, save where all parties are informed of, and consent to, such communication taking place; and
    • empower the appeals function to independently assess and determine whether matters should be settled, litigated or otherwise resolved (for example, ADR).

    ATO response

    We disagreed with this recommendation.

    The establishment of an additional Second Commissioner statutory officer and any specific roles are matters for Government.

    The National Tax and Liaison Group, professional associations and taxpayers involved in dispute resolution involving more complex issues have all expressed their preference for engaging law experts early in the dispute process. They also want access to all those involved in the decision making process, in the same spirit as having key experts at the table for ADR. This preference for earlier engagement and increased levels of collaboration is consistent with the underlying principles of the Transforming Tax Technical Decision Making Project. A proposal that quarantines access to ultimate decision makers until later in the process would be inconsistent with the preference of taxpayers and advisers to resolve issues as early in the process as possible and would be expected to add to the cost of resolving disputes and the time taken to do so.

    While the recommendation only proposes a pilot, the organisational logistics of such a pilot would be burdensome. For example, how are cases to be classified, there is also significant work associated with developing relevant guidelines and protocols, and there is a diversion of senior expert staff away from earlier resolution of the more complex cases.

    Find out about:

    For more information about the IGTO review of aspects of our administration of class rulings, visit the Inspector-General of Taxation and Taxation Ombudsman websiteExternal Link.

      Last modified: 25 Oct 2019QC 40262