Practitioner guidance for puzzling technical issues

The ATO has a section that deals with “complex issues” that tax practitioners will have to struggle with now and then when managing their clients’ tax affairs. The ATO says its Complex issues resolution service is there to help resolve complex administrative issues and tax technical interpretation queries that practitioners may have been unable to resolve online (perhaps via Alex, the ATO virtual assistant) or by phone. Practitioner guidance for puzzling technical issues

Tax practitioners can use this service to resolve issues that can include:

  • administrative issues that are outside the norm
  • general advice about new or changed legislation
  • complex, multiple or related tax technical issues
  • general help with legal interpretation.

The service is available to all registered agents, legal practitioners and other intermediaries who represent clients in a professional capacity. The service operates on the understanding that if ATO staff need to discuss client specific details, the practitioner who asked for guidance has been nominated as an authorised representative of that client.

The ATO points out however that its responses to technical queries are for general guidance only and are not legally binding. If binding technical advice is required, it will be abetter option to seek a ruling (refer to the ATO advice and guidance page).

It also says the service should not be used to lodge complaints (see here for more on making a complaint). Practitioners can submit their query online using the Complex issue resolution form which is available from the ATO website. Note however that the above links to an interactive form, and may present problems for some web browsers (and if this is so, see next paragraph).

If you experience difficulty obtaining or using the form, send your query to Tax Practitioner Assistance@ato.gov.au providing your contact details, full details of the issue and details of the interactions you have already had with the ATO in relation to the matter.

The ATO says it will acknowledge inquiries within one working day, and that it aims to resolve tax technical issues within five working days. Administrative issues and complex tax technical queries may take longer to resolve, and if this occurs the ATO says it is committed to advise applicants of the timeframe and keep them informed of progress. Practitioner guidance for puzzling technical issues Practitioner guidance for puzzling technical issues Practitioner guidance for puzzling technical issues