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  • Taxpayers’ Charter – treating you fairly and reasonably

    Find information about the standards of behaviour you can expect when dealing with us.

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    Treating you with courtesy and respect

    We treat you with courtesy, consideration and respect. We will do all that we properly and reasonably can to help you understand and meet your obligations.

    We have an expectation that you will interact with us in a cooperative and respectful way. This helps make your dealings with us as easy as possible.

    Acting impartially

    Under the common law principle of natural justice, decision makers must act fairly and without perceived or actual bias.

    We take reasonable steps to avoid real or apparent conflicts of interest and disclose these when they exist. We don't discriminate against or favour anyone. We act with due care and diligence.

    When we make a decision about your tax affairs, we consider your circumstances when they are relevant to the decision and if the law allows us to.

    Relevant circumstances may include your:

    • history as a taxpayer
    • level of knowledge and understanding of the laws.

    We recognise people sometimes make mistakes when trying to meet their obligations.

    We differentiate between mistakes and deliberate actions. If you make a mistake, we listen to you by giving you the opportunity to explain, in most situations.

    We respect your choice to exercise your legal rights of review once we have made a decision.

    We select cases to audit based on research and analysis of information available to us.

    Using our powers fairly and professionally

    Parliament has given us powers that include:

    • gaining access to premises and documents
    • requiring a person to provide returns and information
    • requiring a person to attend interviews and provide information and evidence
    • requiring documents be produced.

    We use these powers in a fair, professional and responsible manner. For example, if we need information you hold, we consult with you to obtain the information with your cooperation. We will only use formal access powers if we consider it necessary.

    We use our powers in good faith. If you feel that a power has not been exercised in good faith when dealing with you, you have recourses available under the law.

    For more information, see Fair use of our access and information gathering powers.

    Acting lawfully, honestly and ethically

    We behave with integrity and honesty. We are open and honest and follow through on our commitments.

    This means we will:

    • be accountable for our actions, acknowledge mistakes and take timely corrective action
    • make information available that is simple and easy to understand so you can make informed decisions
    • protect your personal information.

    We follow Australian laws including those that address discrimination based on:

    • age
    • disability
    • gender
    • race
    • religion
    • sexuality.

    If tax officers don't follow these laws, they may be subject to disciplinary action.

    All our services are designed to be appropriate, accessible, consumer-oriented and effective.

    Making fair and equitable decisions

    We have a range of policies and guidelines, such as rulings, to help us make fair and consistent decisions.

    These policies and guidelines are generally available to the public on our website.

    We apply the law with balance, judgment, common sense and without bias. We may tell Treasury when we identify significant issues with the law, such as anomalies or unintended consequences. We have quality assurance processes in place for many of our decisions.

    Acting consistently

    When we interpret and apply the law, we have one view of how it applies and apply that view consistently.

    We use our judgment to achieve a sensible, consistent and equitable outcome within the law.

    If you feel we haven’t treated you fairly and reasonably

    There may be occasions when you believe you are not being treated fairly or reasonably in some way. If you feel this way, we recommend you follow these steps:

    1. Tell the tax officer you're dealing with.
    2. If you can't resolve the issue with the officer, tell that officer’s manager.
    3. If you're not satisfied with the way your concerns have been addressed, you can have them independently reviewed by phoning our complaints line on 1800 199 010.

    Reviewing our decisions

    When we make a decision about your tax affairs, we explain it to you. We also tell you what you need to do if you want to review the decision.

    If you have questions, you should contact us using the phone number we provide with the decision.

    We administer the laws fairly and openly. We try to be approachable and helpful and take your circumstances into account.

    We try to ensure everyone meets their obligations under the laws, so those who pay or claim the correct amounts are not disadvantaged by those who do not.

    When we collect revenue or make payments, we use our powers in a fair, professional and responsible way.

    We know most people try to meet their obligations, so we try to make sure these people are not subjected to undue use of our powers.

    Most of the standards we outline here, including those about the behaviour of tax officers, are based on the law.

    If you've experienced financial loss due to defective administration by us, you can apply for compensation.

    Last modified: 18 Jul 2022QC 16681