ATO’s new initiative to resolve tax disputes
The ATO has announced an in-house facilitation process for taxpayers to resolve tax disputes.
Tax agents and their clients are now able to use this service in audits and objections involving indirect tax, small business and individual taxpayers, and private groups and high wealth individuals.
In-house facilitation aims to:
- resolve less complex disputes more quickly;
- provide certainty for tax agents and their clients; and
- avoid unnecessary litigation.
The ATO says that it has trained facilitators in each State and across all areas of the Office.
These facilitators are independent of the audit or objection and will not make a decision, as their role is to bring the tax agent, their client, and the ATO case officer together to discuss areas of disagreement in an open and transparent way.
What is ‘facilitation’?
At a facilitation, taxpayers will have the opportunity to present their case and their view of the tax issues and facts in dispute.
The facilitator merely guides the parties through the process and will help them ensure that there are open lines of clear communication, and that messages are correctly received.
Taxpayers are not obliged to participate in facilitation if it is offered, but if they choose to participate and the dispute is not resolved, their rights of review and appeal are not affected in any way.