• Your case matters 2012 Edition 1

    Download the complete Your case matters 2012 in PDF format (PDF, 2.73 MB).

    Introduction

    Welcome to the inaugural edition of Your case matters. Your case matters has two meanings - both important.

    Firstly, as a taxpayer it's important that you can challenge an ATO decision and have it independently considered. Secondly, your case may benefit the community by clarifying how the tax and superannuation laws operate.

    Litigation is an essential feature of the tax and superannuation systems, even though the number of litigation cases is very small compared to the number of interactions with these community systems. Because your case matters, it is important that disputes within the tax and superannuation systems are professionally and successfully resolved.

    This booklet publishes key data and analysis about Australia's tax and superannuation litigation for the first time. It aims to provide insight into statistical trends in tax and superannuation litigation over recent years.

    This analysis is timely. Led by the Australian Government, there is an increasing interest in minimising the cost and impact of litigation by exploring alternative ways of resolving disputes, known as alternative dispute resolution (ADR).1 Pleasingly, the statistics show there is a trend of finalising more cases prior to hearing, and also indications that ADR techniques are positively impacting resolving disputes. The Inspector General of Taxation also has a keen interest in dispute resolution and is currently reviewing the ATO's approach to ADR to identify areas for improvement.

    There has also been media and stakeholder commentary about tax litigation, raising concerns that recent unfavourable decisions for the ATO, particularly on appeal, may mean that the ATO is litigating matters it should have conceded.

    The statistics show that the majority of cases are favourable for the ATO. However, win-lose rates are not the only marker of whether a litigation program is effective. Regardless of the outcome, the community benefits through the tribunals or courts clarifying how the law works.

    The statistics in this booklet have been markedly influenced by disputes arising from the 'mass marketed scheme' era, with the decline in cases proceeding to litigation in recent years reflecting the resolution of those disputes.

    This booklet is a work in progress. With your feedback, we will continue to refine our analysis. In future booklets, we also plan to add other aspects of tax and superannuation litigation, such as debt recovery and administrative law litigation.

      Last modified: 30 Apr 2012QC 25889