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  • LPP Working Group key messages 28 March 2019

    The first meeting focussed on objective one as the priority.

    Objective 1 Scope of engagement pro-forma

    Relevant to this working group’s role, the concerns about LPP relate to:

    • Blanket claims being made with insufficient detail being provided on why a communication is considered privilege and that often fall away when further inquiries are made
    • The process of claiming LPP, in particular, there is sometimes a failure by a suitably qualified legal practitioner to review the documents prior to asserting the LPP claim
    • Privilege being claimed over documents which are clearly not privileged - such errors are not linked to a particular adviser or market segment
    • On occasion, LPP was more deliberately used as a delay tactic or negotiation tool.

    It is important the solutions recognise and balance:

    • cost implications to taxpayers
    • the potential large amounts of documents responsive to a request by the ATO
    • the manner in which documents are now stored

    with the Commissioner accessing appropriate documents and having confidence and trust in the rigour and timeliness of the process so that he is able to effectively administer the tax system.

    There was recognition that Multi-Disciplinary Practices (MDP) faced additional challenges.

    It was noted that technological advances are generating a greater numbers of documents to be considered, requiring computer assisted review and compilation / AI reduction strategies.

    It was generally agreed that:

    • A legal practitioner should not be prepared to say LPP applies if they have not appropriately considered the document
    • LPP is a very specific area of expertise with some unsettled principles and certain claims are not all symptomatic of LPP being used tactically
    • There is a mutual interest in minimising the number of inappropriate / ill-considered claims.

    Action item update

    Action item

    Development of Scope of Engagement Principles

    Due date

    Progress to be reported at next meeting in June 2019

    Responsibility

    ATO, with input from group members

      Last modified: 06 Jun 2019QC 59258