Early assessment and resolution
An early assessment and resolution (EAR) process is applied to all cases that are lodged with the Administrative Appeals Tribunal (AAT) or Small Taxation Claims Tribunal (STCT). Specialist senior officers will examine each new application to look for opportunities to resolve the matter without a lengthy or costly tribunal process, saving resources for all parties.
The process focuses on early engagement with the taxpayer (preferably in person), to listen, discuss and accept evidence of events where appropriate. The officer will also engage with other stakeholders in the ATO in attempt to resolve the dispute.
The EAR approach is particularly suited to cases:
- of low monetary value
- involving taxpayers with good compliance history
- where the law is quite settled
- where evidentiary issues are of primary concern
- where the dispute relates solely to a penalty imposed.
Where complete resolution is not achieved, the process aims to identify and narrow the issues in dispute, and ensure that only the right matters proceed to hearing without delay.
An early assessment and resolution process aims to resolve or narrow issues in dispute through discussion, direct negotiation and other ADR processes.