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  • How we manage disputes and settlements

    The recent Australian National Audit Office (ANAO) report found the ATO is effective, comprehensive and fair in using settlements to resolve taxpayer disputes.

    1. The sensible use of settlements is part of our commitment to earlier and more effective dispute resolution.

    In 2016-17:

    • More than 35.5 million returns were lodged
    • 253,000 (0.7%) adjustments from audits were made
    • 24,490 (0.07%) objections were received
    • 456 (0.001%) cases were lodged to courts/tribunals
    • 141 (0.0004%) cases proceeded to decision.
    1. We have transformed the way we manage disputes.
      • The number of appeals to the Administrative Appeals Tribunal (AAT) against decisions by the Commissioner has dropped by more than 60% over the last three years - from 922 in 2013–14 to 357 in 2016–17.
      • Our approach to ensure only the right litigation matters are pursued has meant 85% of tax litigation decisions in 2016-17 were favourable to the Commissioner.
      • Our recent innovative approaches to dispute resolution have resulted in a 30% reduction in the time it takes to resolve a dispute since 2016–17.
       
    2. There has also been a reduction in the cost for taxpayers.
      • 93% of the cases that used our free in-house facilitation service in 2016–17 either partially or fully resolved the dispute.
      • Our dispute assist service offers support for unrepresented individuals in business who may be in dispute with the ATO and are going through other stressful issues in their lives (such as family, physical or mental health issues).
      • This new, free service connects the taxpayer with an independent disputes guide, who provides support and assistance through the dispute process.
       
    Last modified: 09 Apr 2018QC 55057