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In-house facilitation

Ask for a facilitator to guide a discussion between you and your case officer with the aim to resolve your dispute.

Last updated 23 June 2024

What is in-house facilitation?

In-house facilitation is a good way to resolve less complex disputes. You can request it at any stage of a dispute.

We’ll appoint an accredited and impartial ATO facilitator to guide the discussion between you and your case officer. They’re professionally trained in mediation, and will not have previous involvement in your matter. They don’t establish facts, take sides, give advice or decide who’s right or wrong. They aim to keep communication open.

The facilitator will meet with you and your case officer to:

  • identify the issues in the dispute
  • develop options and consider alternatives
  • attempt to reach a resolution.

Facilitation is a voluntary process, so both you and your case officer need to agree to participate.

Not all cases are suitable for in-house facilitation. If it’s not appropriate for your case, we'll let you know why. We may offer you another option.

You can find more information about our approach in Law Administration Practice Statement PS LA 2013/3 Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) in ATO disputes.

Media: In-house facilitation Link (Duration: 00:50)


Example: Using facilitation to quickly resolve a dispute

A company undertaking research and development (R&D) activities made a significant claim for the R&D incentive tax offset. The refund was a large amount of money, so we held onto it while we investigated to make sure the company was entitled to receive the offset.

The case officer’s manager was concerned that the refund delay would impact the company’s cash flow. The manager suggested in-house facilitation between the case officer, the company and their tax agent.

The case officer explained his concerns and view of the relevant R&D law, and the company provided additional information to the case officer. The discussion allowed them to see that the company was entitled to half of the refund.

We were able to process the refund, the dispute was resolved quickly, and the company and tax agent gained a better understanding of the R&D law.

End of example

How to request facilitation

You or your representative can ask for facilitation by completing the Request for in-house facilitation form, or we may offer it to you.

If your case is suitable, a facilitator will contact you and your case officer separately. They will:

  • arrange a pre-facilitation meeting to outline the process and answer questions
  • schedule the earliest date and time that’s convenient for both parties
  • let you know how the facilitation will be conducted (for example, video conferencing, phone, teleconferencing or face to face).

How the facilitation process works

Before the facilitation

The facilitator will provide all parties with a statement of expectations. This outlines what is expected of participants, what they can expect from the process, and the confidentiality requirements.

On the day

On the day, the facilitator will:

  • outline the structure and explain the expectations and aims for the session
  • invite you and your case officer to give your views at the start of the facilitation
  • help both parties identify the issues in dispute and options for resolution
  • help both parties evaluate the options and attempt to reach a resolution.

Concluding the facilitation

When concluding the facilitation, if:

  • a resolution is agreed by both parties, the facilitator can help record the outcomes of the facilitation
  • no resolution is decided
    • the audit or objection will continue as normal
    • other options, including your review and appeal rights, will be discussed with you
  • the facilitation doesn’t resolve the dispute, your review and appeal rights are not affected in any way.

If you're not satisfied with the facilitation

If you have concerns at any stage, you should raise them with the facilitator or email us at link opens in a new window.

You can withdraw from the process at any time by advising the facilitator and other participants.

If the facilitation doesn’t resolve the dispute, your review or appeal rights will not be affected. You may still be able to:

You'll be asked to give feedback after the facilitation. We welcome your views of the process so we can make it better and ensure it remains a valuable service in resolving disputes.