Subpoenaing the ATO

A subpoena is a court order to produce documents to the court.

We can't usually comply with a subpoena if it is for information about anyone's tax information. This is because we must keep tax matters confidential between the taxpayer and us. In most cases, we can't even give your tax information to a court.

Tax law subpoenas

If you have a dispute with us about a tax matter, and the matter is going to court or already in court, we encourage you to contact us about releasing our information about your dispute.

Tax law disputes are disputes about:

  • your tax liability
  • your tax debt
  • your departure prohibition order
  • a decision under a tax law.

Non-tax law subpoenas

If a non-tax law dispute is being contested in court and is not against us, we can't comply with a subpoena because of tax confidentiality.

Non-tax law disputes include:

  • family breakdown
  • personal injury claims
  • contractual disagreements.

How to get information from us

If you want your own basic tax information you can request copies of tax documents – you don't need to apply under FOI or serve us with a subpoena. You can access the request form below.

If you need your tax information to help you understand your tax affairs or help you resolve a dispute with us, contact the ATO officer listed on our correspondence with you.

You can also apply for documents under FOI, but we cannot give you access to documents about anyone else's tax information if you have no right of access to it.

Serving us with a subpoena

In most cases, we can't be required to comply with a subpoena for anyone's tax information and we can't disclose your tax information under subpoena.

If we are served with a subpoena ordering us to disclose tax information, we will contact the subpoenaing party and the court and explain why we can't comply.

If you decide to subpoena us, we do not require payment.

Our addresses for service of a subpoena can be found hereExternal Link. We accept service of subpoenas by mail.

    Last modified: 23 May 2014QC 40287