Practice Statement Law Administration

PS LA 2002/4

Service of documents
  • This document has changed over time. View its history.

FOI status: may be released
Contents Paragraph
1. What this practice statement is about
2. Who can accept service of documents?
3. What do I need to do when accepting service?
4. What do I need to do after accepting service?
5. More information
Addresses for the General Counsel Unit

This practice statement is an internal ATO document, and is an instruction to ATO staff.

If taxpayers rely on this practice statement, they will be protected from interest and penalties in the following way. If a statement turns out to be incorrect and taxpayers underpay their tax as a result, they will not have to pay a penalty. Nor will they have to pay interest on the underpayment provided they reasonably relied on this practice statement in good faith. However, even if they don't have to pay a penalty or interest, taxpayers will have to pay the correct amount of tax provided the time limits under the law allow it.

This Law Administration Practice Statement provides guidelines on accepting service of documents.

1. What this practice statement is about

This practice statement advises:

·
who may accept service of documents
·
what needs to be done when accepting service, and
·
what needs to be done after accepting service.

2. Who can accept service of documents?

The following outlines who can accept service in different situations. You should note that if an address for service is not included in the documents, you should refuse to accept service in every instance.

Taxation or AOD appeals

You cannot accept service of these matters, as the Federal Court Rules 2011 state that only the AGS can accept service. The originating documents must be served at the offices of the AGS in the State or Territory in which the application was filed.

Documents being served on Commissioners and Deputy Commissioners

The following is the order of preference in regard to who should accept service of documents served on Commissioners and Deputy Commissioners:

1.
An officer from General Counsel or the Review and Dispute Resolution (RDR) business line.
2.
In sites with no General Counsel or RDR presence, a nominated team leader in the relevant business line.
3.
If the relevant business line cannot be identified, any EL 2 in that site.
4.
Any ATO staff member.

Documents being served on named ATO staff members

Before you accept service of documents in behalf of an individual staff member:

·
you will need the consent of that staff member, and
·
the documents being served must relate to the named staff members ATO duties

If the documents relate to a private matter you must refuse service.

3. What do I need to do when accepting service?

When accepting service of any documents you must do the following:

·
Record the time and date of service on the front of the document.
·
Prepare a file note ensuring that reference is made to the time of service, whether or not conduct money (see below) was offered, and if so, whether it was accepted or refused.
·
If asked by the person serving the document, sign an acknowledgment of receipt of the document and provide your name.

It is preferable that conduct money is not accepted. However, if you do, you should follow the instructions in FMPI 2014/07/01 Managing public money: Collecting and receiving money.

4. What do I need to do after accepting service?

Documents served on Commissioners and Deputy Commissioners

The documents should immediately be forwarded to the nearest General Counsel branch. If not in the same site, immediately scan and email the documents to General Counsel at GeneralCounselRequests@ato.gov.au. The originals should be then sent by internal mail to the closest General Counsel branch (see Attachment).

Documents served on named ATO staff members

You must ensure that the documents are given to the person named within a short time frame, for example, 24 hours. Failure to do so may have serious legal consequences.

5. More information

For more information, see:

·
Contact General Counsel
·
FMPI 2014/07/01 Managing public money: Collecting and receiving money

ATTACHMENT 1

Addresses for the General Counsel

City Postal service
Please address 'Attention General Counsel'
Service in person Phone
New South Wales GPO Box 4889
SYDNEY NSW 2001
52 Goulburn Street
SYDNEY NSW 2000
1800 005 172
Victoria GPO Box 1797
MELBOURNE VIC 3001
747 Collins Street, Docklands
MELBOURNE VIC 3008
1800 005 172
South Australia and Northern Territory GPO Box 2934
ADELAIDE SA 5001
26 Franklin Street
ADELAIDE SA 5000
1800 005 172
Western Australia GPO Box C109
PERTH WA 6839
45 Francis Street
PERTH WA 6003
1800 005 172
Queensland GPO Box 869
BRISBANE QLD 4001
55 Elizabeth Street
BRISBANE QLD 4000
1800 005 172
Australian Capital Territory PO Box 900
Civic Square ACT 2608
26 Narellan St
Civic ACT 2601
1800 005 172

Amendment History

Date of amendment Part Comment
5 July 2018 Section 4
Attachment 1
Minor change
Updated address for General Counsel
7 August 2017 Attachment 1 Updated the Addresses for the General Counsel Unit
11 June 2015 All Updated to new LAPS format and style.
16 April 2014 Throughout Updated due to ATO restructuring.
Paragraph 1 Included references to 'AOD appeals'.
Paragraph 15 and other references Added FMPI 2012/07/01.
Contact details Updated.
18 April 2013 Paragraph 15 Refinement of conduct money process
Attachment 1 Update contact details
16 November 2012 Paragraph 6 Update legislative references for Federal Court Rules
Legislative References Update legislative references for Federal Court Rules
Attachment 1 Update contact details
21 October 2009 Generally Update references of 'ATO Legal Practice' to 'Legal Services Branch'.
Update references of 'ATO Officer' to 'Tax Officer'.
Update to match Tax Office Style Guide.
Table of Contents Insertion of a Table of Contents.
Paragraph 6 Reworded to ensure that original documents are lodged at offices of AGS in State or Territory in which application is filed.
Paragraph 12 Update references of 'ATO Legal Practice' to 'Legal Services Provider'.
Attachment 1 Update contact details.

Date of Issue: 4 February 2002

Date of Effect: 4 February 2002

File 2002/000772

Subject References:
AGS
conduct money
originating process
service of documents
subpoena
taxation appeals

Legislative References:
Federal Court Rules 2011

Business Line:  RDR

PS LA 2002/4 history
  Date: Version:
  4 February 2002 Original statement
  21 October 2009 Updated statement
  16 November 2012 Updated statement
  18 April 2013 Updated statement
  16 April 2014 Updated statement
  10 June 2015 Updated statement
  7 August 2017 Updated statement
You are here 5 July 2018 Updated statement