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Working with the ATO

Learn how effective tax governance contributes to mutual trust between the ATO and private groups and their advisers.

Last updated 30 May 2016

Effective tax governance contributes to mutual trust between the ATO and private groups and their advisers, leading to the correct tax outcomes and lower compliance costs. Effective governance processes ensure:

  • accurate reporting
  • correct application of tax laws
  • effective management of tax risks.

Engage with us for advice

Effective tax governance is demonstrated by considering the ATO view of the application of the law. You can manage tax risks by knowing what issues and behaviours attract our attention and take steps to get things right.

When deciding on the tax treatment for significant or complex transactions, consult ATO guidance and advice products. This will help you assess the potential risks involved in adopting a particular position. You may also consider consulting your tax adviser.

If you or your tax adviser are not able to find the ATO view on how the law applies to your circumstances, or are not certain about how it applies, you can engage early with us for advice.

Where your treatment is not consistent with the ATO view, we expect you to carefully consider and document the reasons for your position. Consider taking steps to engage with us to get certainty.

The lack of documentation or adopting a poorly reasoned position may indicate a failure of effective tax governance. This can impact your tax profile and increase the likelihood of the ATO undertaking a review or audit to understand the issues.

Our engagement with you

Our aim is to engage with you and your advisers in a way that minimises time, cost and effort for all parties. In order to achieve this, we take a risk-based approach. We tailor our interactions to your tax profile and the group's behaviours.

A business with governance that is effectively managing tax and superannuation risks and achieving correct tax outcomes provides us with assurance that you are paying the right amount of tax. This assurance reduces the amount of interaction we need to have with your business. In some circumstances we will provide you with confirmation that your return is finalised for a particular year and will not be subject to further review by us.

Where we need to understand your business better, demonstrated effective tax governance enables us to resolve issues sooner. This means potentially lower compliance costs and seamless interactions with the ATO.

Effective tax governance