Doing a quick search

The quick search is on the Legal database home page:

Quick search on Legal database home page

This function allows you to use free text searching to locate items in the Legal database relating to a particular area of interest.

Type in your desired search terms or words and then click the 'Search' button.

Several options are available when using the quick search:

Search exact phrase - the search function looks for the exact phrase you have entered by default. If you untick the exact phrase box, the search will become an 'or' search, and will return all documents that include any word entered.

Include archived content - you can choose to expand your search by including archived content. To make search results more precise, we archive withdrawn and some old documents to keep them out of standard search results.

Category selection - you can choose to restrict your search area to one or more specific categories of document types. You can choose from:

  • ATO view documents (which will include all documents which contain a precedential ATO view)
  • rulings
  • practical compliance guidelines
  • taxpayer alerts
  • decision impact statements
  • ATO interpretative decisions
  • advice under development program
  • cases, both Australian and international
  • legislation including principal legislation and regulations, amending legislation and regulations and legislative instruments
  • extrinsic materials
  • edited private advice.


When entering a search term, the database allows for spelling or typographical errors. If it doesn't find your search term due to a spelling or typographical error it will widen your search parameters, including plurals and words spelt like your search term.

For example, if you mistakenly searched for 'dibidend' the search will not find that term but provide alternative results including the term 'dividend'. See Interpreting your search results for more on this feature.