Dispute Resolution Instruction Bulletin

DR IB 2013/14

Test Case Litigation Program
  • This document has changed over time. View its history.


To advise Dispute Resolution officers that they must identify and escalate cases that may involve test case litigation issues.


This instruction bulletin applies to cases that may involve test case litigation issues.

Dispute Resolution officers must follow the policy and process outlined in this instruction bulletin.


1. The Test Case Litigation Program (the Program) was established to provide financial assistance to selected taxpayers who are litigating matters against the Commissioner of Taxation, which will test the taxation and superannuation laws we administer.

2. The purpose of the Program is to:

clarify the operation of laws administered by the Commissioner of Taxation where there is uncertainty or contention, and
develop legal precedent to provide guiding principles on how specific provisions we administer should be applied more broadly.

3. The Program is managed by the Test Cast Litigation Unit (TCLU) and the Test Case Secretariat in particular, on behalf of the Chair and Deputy Chair of the Program. The Secretariat is assisted by a Test Case Advisor.


4. The Dispute Resolution (DR) officer should promptly consider whether the case involves potential test case issues when the case is allocated to them. At any time during the litigation, issues that were not previously identified must also be considered for being potential test case issues.

5. If a DR officer identifies the case as potentially involving test case issues, the DR officer must escalate the case to the TCLU. The DR officer must:

email TCLU to advise of the matter involving potential test case issues, and
attach the latest Case Management Plan to TCLU.

6. TCLU will make a recommendation to the relevant Assistant Commissioner, Dispute Resolution to conclude whether a case involves test case litigation issues.

7. Detailed instructions about the Program, how it operates and what duties and responsibilities DR officers have in relation to cases involving test case litigation issues are available on intranet .

Approved by:

Assistant Commissioner, Litigation

Amendment History

Date of amendment Part Comment
27 March 2014 Throughout Amended to change to Test Case Litigation Unit
12 July 2013 Throughout Amended to reflect organisational change

Date of decision:  Immediate

Date of publication:  28 May 2013

Other References:
 Test case litigation program intranet page [ATO internal link]

DR IB 2013/14 history
  Date: Version:
  28 May 2013 Original statement
  12 July 2013 Updated statement
You are here 8 April 2014 Updated statement