• What happens if the independent reviewer disagrees with the Statement of Audit Position

    There will be times when the independent reviewer does not support the Statement of Audit Position.

    The independent reviewer will be the final arbiter as to the better view in most cases.

    In circumstances where the matter is related to the interpretation of a critical question of law, the Deputy Commissioner, Review and Dispute Resolution will escalate it directly to the Chief Tax Counsel. The Chief Tax Counsel will be the final arbiter as to the better view in this circumstance.

    A critical question of law would include circumstances where the matter has broader strategic or policy implications. If the matter is escalated to the Chief Tax Counsel you will be informed immediately. Where a matter is escalated, you will have an option to discuss the matter with the Chief Tax Counsel.

    The Chief Tax Counsel will generally be provided with preliminary recommendations of the reviewer together with the material considered as part of the review. The Chief Tax Counsel may make whatever further inquiries are thought necessary to decide how the ATO should proceed.

    What does the independent reviewer provide at the end of the review

    The independent reviewer will produce a letter to you setting out the recommendations in relation to the audit team's Statement of Audit Position. The recommendations will conform to the Chief Tax Counsel's view where the matter has been escalated. The audit team will complete the audit in line with the independent reviewer's recommendations.

    The reviewer’s recommendations will comprise a summary of recommendations and an explanation containing the reasons for the conclusions. The recommendations will be focused on the areas identified as being in dispute. The reviewer will normally comment on which position is the better position and whether the decision is finely balanced, reasonably clear or somewhere in between.

    The recommendations may also include the reviewer’s suggestions about the way the parties might attempt to resolve any remaining dispute. Any resolution of the issues remaining in dispute is a matter for you and the audit team.

      Last modified: 21 Nov 2016QC 26636