How we interpret and apply the law

Interpreting and applying the law is central to our administration of the tax and superannuation systems. We offer a range of advice services to obtain certainty and clarify how the law works.

We work with our partners in the tax and super systems to ensure the law, administrative systems and information products are consistent with the policy intent and compliance costs are minimised.

If law is clear

We have a duty to apply the law. If the law is clear but gives rise to unintended consequences, anomalies, or significant compliance costs inconsistent with the policy intent, we advise government – usually through Treasury.

We do this regardless of who the existing law favours.

You can:

If law is open to interpretation

If the law is open to interpretation, our approach is to adopt the interpretation consistent with the policy intent.

Where more than one of the available interpretations achieves the policy intent, we will generally apply the interpretation more favourable to you.

You can:

New legislation

We ensure new legislation is implemented efficiently and effectively by consulting with you, your tax advisers, professional associations, industry bodies and Treasury.


See also:

  • How we apply the law 
Last modified: 31 May 2016QC 44829