"Small businesses who participated in our pilot told us they found the process to be fair and independent, irrespective of the independent review outcome, so this is a great result, and is a big part of why we are locking this service in permanently."ATO Deputy Commissioner, Jeremy Geale
The Australian Taxation Office (ATO) has affirmed its commitment to helping small businesses resolve their taxation disputes. Following a multi-year pilot, the ATO's small business independent review service will be offered permanently as a dispute resolution option for eligible small businesses.
The ATO's service ensures eligible small businesses have an additional opportunity to resolve a dispute with the ATO in a cost-effective and time-efficient way.
ATO Deputy Commissioner Jeremy Geale said the service assured small businesses the opportunity to achieve an independent, fast, free, and fair resolution when they disagree with an ATO audit.
"Independence is critical when handling a dispute, so we ensure each and every independent review is done by an officer from a different part of the ATO who was not involved in the original audit," Mr Geale said.
Mr Geale clarified that taxpayers could request in-house facilitation at any stage of a dispute with the ATO. The independent review occurs prior to the ATO issuing an amended assessment and any resulting debt being raised.
The ATO's small business independent review service is available to eligible small businesses in addition to other dispute options, for example, lodging objections or in-house facilitation.
The service is available for eligible small businesses with an annual turnover of less than $10 million concerning disputes about income tax, GST, excise, luxury car tax, wine equalisation tax, and fuel tax credits. Disputes about employer obligations like superannuation and fringe benefits tax are not eligible for the independent review service.
More information about this service, including how to request a review and eligibility criteria, is available at ato.gov.au.