When big companies have problems with the ATO, the problems tend to be big problems, for example Google recently settled a taxation dispute for almost $500million.

We serve individuals and small businesses when they have a taxation dispute. 

While the monetary amounts our clients have in dispute with ATO are much less than that of Google’s dispute, nevertheless, the amount is usually very significant for individuals and small businesses.

And the ATO has the power to impose penalties of up to 75% of the actual tax amount in dispute and charge interest at punitive rates.

We have successfully represented our clients in the internal processes of the ATO, in the Administrative Appeals Tribunal and in the Federal Court.  The further you proceed up the tree, the more expensive the battle will be. The cost is counted both in actual dollars spent, on interruption to your business and to your personal life.

The ATO is subject to the rule of law; it is not a law unto itself.  Australia’s taxation dispute resolution system is established by the Taxation Administration Act Pt IVC.  Additionally, the ATO has many policies which the staff must follow, and which provide guidance to professionals about how the ATO will apply the law.

It is important to acknowledge that disputes will almost always involve numerous elements.  Thus, an appreciation of the entire resolution process is important when engaging with the ATO.

Here is a thumbnail sketch of the dispute resolution process:

  • In-house mediation, with Australian Taxation Office (ATO) staff
  • ABN disputes
  • Objection to an ATO Assessment
  • Personal Services Income disputes
  • Administrative Appeals Tribunal (AAT) Review of an Assessment Decision
  • Federal Court Review of an AAT Decision

It is best to attempt to settle the dispute using the internal processes of the ATO. Even using those resources, you need professional advice, frequently from your accountant, a tax agent and eventually, you might need to contact a lawyer.