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The ATO’s new approach to dispute resolution

According to the Commissioner of Taxation, Chris Jordan, the ATO has put in place a number of strategies to resolve disputes as early as possible, in a way that is “less painful, less costly and better for participation in the system in the long run”.

“We’ve also increased use of Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) . . . ADR is cheaper, faster and often a more successful path to sorting things out instead of drawn out legal disputes.”

In addition, in response to concerns about ATO officers from the same department reviewing each other’s decisions when challenged by taxpayers, their small business objections work has been moved out of the ATO’s Compliance group to their separate Review and Dispute Resolution area under a different Second Commissioner: “This is intended to give anyone in dispute with us, a fresh set of eyes to the issue”.

He also stated that the ATO is working with other government agencies to improve the experience for small businesses, such as working with Business Enterprise Centres, to help new businesses get off the ground, and leading ‘Small Business Fix-It squads’ across government to discuss the issues small business owners face and what they can do to fix them, such as redesigning the ASIC business name transfer process to reduce red tape.

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