ATO First Assistant Commissioner, Review and Dispute Resolution, Debbie Hastings, [on Fri 20.2.2015] delivered a speech at the Tax Institute’s 2015 Financial Services Taxation Conference held in Surfers Paradise on the ATO’s approach to managing disputes since the introduction of Independent Review in July 2013.

Ms Hastings said Independent Review “was introduced to promote the earlier resolution of disputes – to avoid protracted paper wars between large business and the ATO, which do not help either party”. The ATO has been using feedback to improve the services over the past 20 months. According to Ms Hastings, the feedback has been consistently positive about the level of independence, the service the ATO provides, the process, and the professionalism of the reviewers. She said the ATO was satisfied the Independent Review was “hitting the mark” in what it was intended to achieve – that is, promoting the earlier resolution of disputes with large market players.

Ms Hastings said the ATO has made progress in the way it manages disputes, however, she said more can be done. She said that “over the coming year”, the ATO will consult with key stakeholders and see how it might be able to leverage the experiences from Independent Review, and consider the feasibility of expanding pre-assessment reviews.

[LTN 33, 19/2/15]