ATO Bureaucracies Explained

M. Keating, ‘Facing the Dragon in His Lair’, TTI (National), 14 March 2013 entertained and unveiled the ATO bureaucracy.

Martin Keating discussed bureaucratic structures, systems and tendencies, bureaucrat personality, legacy and proposed administration practices and suggests practical approaches and methods to effectively interact with the ATO.

Martin advocates early engagement with case officers, a co-operative and proactive engagement, case officer education and for taxpayers to present correspondence and arguments consistently with ATO procedures to effectively progress the taxpayer’s position.

His tips include escalating matters sideways to Technical and Case Leadership, a Community of Practice, Law and Practice experts, or the Tax Counsel Network and upwards should the engagement with the case officers have stalled or been effectively exhausted. A new perspective may alter the taxpayer’s prospects.

The most practical tip is to provide a separate one page issue statement (‘The ABC P/L Issue) to assist the case officers and focus each other ATO officer that will deal with the matter on the central issue or issues least they are lost or overwhelmed by the complexity and volume of material collated by the ATO.