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  • Options for resolving disputes

    Where issues arise, we seek to work collaboratively with taxpayers to avoid the issues escalating into disputes wherever possible.

    We have several options for resolving disputes:

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    In-house facilitation

    Our in-house facilitation service is ideal for less complex disputes and can be used at any stage from audit up to litigation.

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    Independent review service

    Our independent review service focuses on the early resolution of disputes where taxpayers disagree with the audit position.

    Independent review service for large business taxpayers

    You can request an independent review if your turnover or income is greater than $250 million and you have received a Statement of Audit Position regarding your income tax, excise, goods and services tax, or other forms of tax.

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    Independent review service for small business taxpayers

    Our independent review service is available as an additional dispute resolution option for eligible small businesses with a turnover less than $10 million. It allows you to achieve an early and fair resolution of your dispute, where you disagree with the audit position on most income tax and indirect tax obligations.

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    Alternative Dispute Resolution

    Used appropriately, Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) is a cost-effective, informal, consensual and speedy way to resolve disputes.

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    Early assessment and resolution

    An early assessment and resolution process is applied to all tax dispute cases. It focuses on early engagement with the taxpayer (preferably in person), to listen, discuss and accept evidence of events where appropriate.

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    Dispute Assist

    Dispute Assist is a free service to help unrepresented individuals and small businesses with the dispute process.

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    Settlement and litigation

    Settlement policy

    In a dispute about a tax or superannuation liability or debt, or an ATO decision, we may consider agreeing to a settlement with the taxpayer, consistent with the code of settlement.

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    Litigation policy

    Litigation is appropriate where:

    • there is a contentious or uncertain point of law that requires clarification and it is in the public interest to seek law clarification through litigation
    • the behaviour involved is such that we need to send a strong message to the community
    • there is a longstanding unresolvable debt
    • the dispute is intractable, alternative means of resolving the dispute have been attempted but have not produced an acceptable outcome.

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    See also

    Last modified: 01 Sep 2021QC 44429