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  • How the independent review is conducted

    An officer from our Objections and Review area, who has not had any prior involvement in the audit, will conduct the independent review. They will:

    • bring a fresh perspective to your review
    • focus on the areas of disagreement identified in your request
    • maintain independence throughout the process.

    What the independent reviewer will do

    The independent reviewer will consider the documents setting out your position and the audit position. They will schedule an informal meeting (a case conference) with you (and your representatives) and the audit team. This will generally be within three weeks of receiving your review request.

    The purpose of the case conference

    The case conference is an opportunity for the independent reviewer to discuss the issues with you and the audit team. It allows the independent reviewer to:

    • confirm the agreed facts
    • determine and, if possible, narrow down the specific areas of disagreement
    • ask questions to clarify issues giving rise to disagreement.

    Who attends the case conference

    At the case conference, only facts, arguments, information and evidence previously provided to the audit team can be considered. So, it's important that people attending have a thorough knowledge of the facts and understanding of the issues.

    For that reason, we strongly encourage you to attend the case conference. Your representative can also attend. The audit team will also attend the case conference.

    How the case conference is conducted

    While each case conference will be tailored to individual circumstances, there will be similarities in the process.

    There will normally only be one case conference during an independent review.

    You can expect to receive an agenda up to one week before the case conference. The agenda will identify any issues that the reviewer would like to specifically discuss or clarify during the conference.

    The case conference will normally take between one and two hours, depending on the issues in dispute. As the conversation is intended to be informal, it may not follow the agenda order. However, you can expect that all the topics identified in the agenda will be covered. There will also be an opportunity for you to raise any issues not listed.

    The independent reviewer will facilitate the case conference, engaging with you and the audit team to clarify issues and areas of disagreement you have raised, including the relevance of any factual and technical conclusions reached.

    The independent reviewer won't provide any observations, recommendations or preliminary conclusions during the case conference.

    What you can expect following the case conference

    The reviewer will consider both parties’ positions and prepare written recommendations on each issue in dispute. They will communicate the outcome to you and the audit team. The audit team will finalise the audit in accordance with the recommendations.

    New information or evidence

    The independent review will not generally consider new facts, evidence or arguments that are material and have not been raised during the audit. In limited cases the independent reviewer may request additional material to understand a position that has been put forward by you during the audit. You will have 14 days to provide this information.

    If new facts, evidence or arguments are introduced, the independent review will be closed, and the information will be referred back to audit. A subsequent offer of independent review will not be made.

    Further objection rights available

    Your participation in the independent review process does not affect your objection rights under Part IVC of the Taxation Administration Act 1953. This means that if you disagree with the outcome of the audit following the independent review, you can still object to any assessments or amended assessments.

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    Maintaining independence in the review

    We are committed to the independence of our review process. If you participate in an independent review, we ask that neither you, nor your representative (if you have one), contact the independent reviewer to discuss your position. The case conference is your opportunity to discuss your position.

    The independent reviewer will obtain the documents relevant to the final audit letter from the audit team.

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      Last modified: 17 Mar 2022QC 55900