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How we interpret and apply the law

Read how we interpret and implement the law.

Last updated 1 June 2015

If the law is clear

We have a duty to apply the law. If the law is clear but gives rise to unintended consequences, anomalies, or significant compliance costs inconsistent with the policy intent, we advise the government – usually through Treasury. We do this whether the existing law favours taxpayers or the revenue, giving the government the opportunity to consider legislative change.

If the law is open to interpretation

If the words in legislation are open to interpretation, our approach is to adopt the interpretation that is consistent with the policy intent. If more than one of the available interpretations achieves the policy intent, we will generally favour the interpretation that reduces your compliance costs.

New legislation

We are responsible for ensuring that new legislation is implemented efficiently and effectively through co-design with taxpayers, professional associations, representatives, industry bodies and Treasury.

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