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Small Business Taxation Division of the Administrative Appeals Tribunal

The submission to Administrative Appeals Tribunal’s (AAT) consultation process to support the formation of a new Small Business Taxation Division (SBTD) commencing on 1 March 2019 was prepared by the Law Council of Australia. The Law Council appreciates the short timeframe before the commencement of the SBTD as well as the correspondingly short consultation period.

While the Law Council considers the draft ‘Guide to the Small Business Taxation Division’ (the Guide) and draft ‘Practice Direction Review of Small Business Taxation Decisions’ (the Practice Direction) to be a large step in the right direction, it invites the AAT to take into account the comments and recommendations provided in this submission in formulating the finalised versions of the Guide and Practice Direction.

The Law Council acknowledges the work that has to date gone in to preparing the Guide and Practice Direction in a short space of time. The comments and recommendations provided in this submission are intended to enhance the clarity and user friendliness of the Guide and Practice Direction in order for the SBTD to fulfil the objectives of the government in making it ‘easier, cheaper and quicker for small businesses to resolve tax disputes with the Australian Taxation Office’.

In addition, the Law Council considers that the Preliminary Information Form (the PIF) should be provided in advance for public review and consultation to better inform its comments on the draft Practice Direction and Guide. The PIF is an opportunity for the AAT to indicate to parties the level of information and preparation required by parties. For instance, especially for non-represented small business (herein used interchangeably with taxpayer) parties, clarity around the evidentiary information required and the evidentiary process overall would be desirable.

You can read the full submission below.

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