Who may attend
In addition to our officers named in the notice, a number of people may attend the interview, including:
- assistants to help with the administrative aspects of the interview
- stenographers and note takers
- legal representatives to assist our officers.
If we engage external representatives to attend your interview:
- we will notify you of their attendance in the covering letter attached to your notice to attend
- they will be subject to the same secrecy requirements as our officers.
In some cases, we may engage a lawyer to assist at a formal interview, for example, where:
- complex matters of fact are involved
- there are complex claims for legal professional privilege, the accountants’ concession or the corporate board advice concession
- you have advised us that you are to be accompanied at the interview by a lawyer
- we need to assess your credibility
- a legal challenge to the notice is likely to be raised at the interview.
If you have difficulty understanding and speaking English, we recommend that you contact us prior to your interview to arrange for an interpreter to be present.
We can provide an interpreter for you or you can bring your own. In either case, the interpreter must make an oath or affirmation to swear or affirm that they will make a true and honest interpretation of the questions asked and answers given.
Although you do not have a legal right to be accompanied by another person at a formal interview, we usually allow you to bring one or more persons of your choice to assist or advise you at the interview. Your representative may be a professional adviser, interpreter, friend, spouse or other family member.
We may decide to exclude your choice of representative from the interview in limited circumstances. For example, if your representative participated in the transactions of interest (other than as an adviser) and their attendance at your interview could prejudice our investigation. In these circumstances, they may be subject to a separate interview in relation to the transactions.
We usually advise you if we are excluding certain people from your interview at the time the notice is sent. If we advise you at the interview, we will consider adjourning it and giving you an opportunity to obtain advice or appoint alternative representation.
You may be required to continue the interview without your choice of representative being present. If so, it is an offence under tax law to refuse or fail to answer a question or produce a book, paper, record or other document to the extent that you are capable of doing so. You may be prosecuted if you refuse to continue with the interview.
Example – Excluding a representative
Murray has received a notice from us to be interviewed about his participation in a tax minimisation scheme. Murray attends the interview with his accountant Sam.
As Sam is the promoter of the tax minimisation scheme, our officer decides that he should not be present for the part of the interview which deals with the scheme.
The interview can be adjourned to enable Murray to appoint an alternative representative, or it can continue without Sam.
End of example