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  • Mutual expectations

    If a dispute arises when we are gathering information, we will seek to resolve it with you as early and fairly as possible, to avoid it developing into a more formal dispute. You are encouraged to discuss your concerns with our officer managing your case in the first instance.

    What to expect from us

    To resolve disagreements before they become more formal disputes, we will:

    • use open and transparent dialogue to ensure we have a shared understanding of the issues and relevant facts of your matter
    • request the information we need to make our decision, and explain why we need it
    • explain our view, listen to your views, and consider any issues or alternative views you put forward
    • identify issues we agree on and work with you to identify and resolve any issues in dispute
    • when possible, accept information in a different format if you are unable to give it to us in the format we have requested
    • engage you early and regularly for cases that are larger or more complex, such as large business and international issues
    • follow through on any issues in a prompt manner to seek their resolution
    • have our senior officers available to settle disagreements when you ask for an issue to be escalated.

    Our obligation to act as a model litigant applies to proceedings before courts, tribunals, inquiries and commissions. The obligation extends to arbitration and alternative dispute resolution processes.

    In handling claims, our officers and lawyers are to act with complete propriety and fairness and in accordance with the highest professional standards. They are not to start legal proceedings unless they are satisfied litigation is the most suitable method to resolve a dispute.

    For more about how we conduct litigation, see PS LA 2009/9 - Conduct of ATO litigation and engagement of ATO Dispute Resolution

    What we expect from you

    To resolve disagreements before they become more formal disputes, we expect you to:

    • give us all relevant information so we can make correct and timely decisions
    • respond promptly and accurately if we ask you for information or clarification about something
    • clearly explain the reasons why you cannot give us the information we have requested – and offer alternative information when possible
    • let us know as soon as possible if you consider the information we have requested will not resolve the issue at hand – and tell us what information you consider should be provided
    • give us your view on how the relevant laws apply to your circumstances, if you consider this would help us
    • let us know as soon as possible if you think we have misunderstood something or made a mistake
    • ensure that your representatives are prepared, willing and appropriately skilled to work with us to resolve a disagreement, and have the authority to do so.
      Last modified: 22 Jun 2022QC 56551