Your case matters 2012 Edition 2
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Welcome to the second edition of Your case matters (YCM). This booklet has broken new ground by publishing key data and analysis about Australia's tax and superannuation litigation and provides insight into statistical trends in tax and superannuation litigation over recent years. This edition includes some new analysis and updates to 30 June 2012.
We committed in the first edition to continue to build the picture of litigation. In this booklet, new features include a section on High Court case trends over the past five years and a snapshot of interesting and significant cases in 2011-12. It also includes more information on dispute resolution strategies, where our aim is to resolve issues as quickly as appropriate, including through the early engagement of our specialist law experts.
We also updated all data to 30 June 2012 - this aligns YCM with other Australian Taxation Office (ATO) published information and will make analysis and comparisons easier.
YCM includes important information that challenges some commonly held views about tax and superannuation litigation. For example, less than 1% of all taxpayers dispute assessments. Less than 6% of taxpayers dispute assessments that result from an audit. There is a very good track record of resolving disputes prior to tribunal or court hearings and this is being further improved with alternative dispute resolution. Over the 5 years, most litigation completed at the Full Federal Court and High Court either involved large businesses (36%) or is funded by the ATO (19%).
The Administrative Appeals Tribunal (AAT) is the preferred venue for litigation by small business and individual taxpayers. About 81% are resolved before hearing and most of the AAT decisions are favourable to the ATO. In 2012, this became even more marked. The Federal Court is the preferred venue for large business litigation. The number of appeals to the courts has nearly halved to 121 in 2011-12 and the number of appeals finalised prior to hearing more than tripled to 81 in 2011-12. See figure 2.4. Results for all cases resolved by a court decision in 2011-12 were 51% favourable to the ATO, 38% favourable to the taxpayer and 11% partly favourable to each party.
We will continue to build the picture. With your feedback, we will continue to refine our analysis and add more features, such as debt recovery and administrative law litigation.