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ATO announces extension of small business independent review pilot

The ATO has announced it has extended and expanded its pilot to offer an independent review service to eligible small businesses disputing income tax audits. 

ATO announces extension of small business independent review pilot
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  • Maja Garaca Djurdjevic
  • February 28, 2020
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The Tax Office has extended and expanded its independent review services to 31 December 2020, after it initially launched a 12-month pilot on 1 July 2018. 

The scope of the independent review service has also been expanded to include eligible small businesses with disputes involving income tax, goods and services tax (GST), excise, luxury car tax (LCT), wine equalisation tax (WET) and fuel tax credits (FTC).

The independent review service is aimed at early and fair resolution of disputes for small businesses. It is available to eligible small businesses in addition to other dispute options.

The ATO explained that in an independent review, an independent technical officer from outside its audit area reviews the facts and technical merits of the ATO's audit position. They complete their review before the assessment or amended assessment is issued to the small business.

It advised that a case officer will contact eligible small businesses with an audit in progress before issuing assessments. They will then be offered the opportunity to participate in the extended pilot. 

The independent review service was launched mid-2018 by commissioner Chris Jordan. 

Previously, the independent review process had been reserved for entities with a turnover greater than $250 million, designed to give both parties a better understanding of the issues and working towards resolving them. 

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