Internal tax documents released — a peek into court interpretations

The ATO has released on its legal database a series of what until recently have been internal ATO documents. Internal tax documents released — a peek into court interpretations

The release of these documents in an initiative that the ATO has labelled “interpretation NOW!” and is, according to assistant commissioner Gordon Brysland, “a reinvention initiative to drive awareness on what is happening on the statutory interpretation front”.

The documents (or “episodes” as the ATO calls them) are the brainchild of the ATO’s Tax Counsel Network, and have been released with an aim to raise awareness about what courts are saying about statutory interpretation.

The series began last year, and the ATO says it has now made them public in response to growing external interest. Until now, they have been filed under “miscellaneous papers” in the ATO’s legal database.

Brysland says an additional aim is to draw attention to key principles, expressed in easily digestible chunks, “and to provide ‘iTips’ on how they may be applied”. The documents comment briefly on various cases (not necessarily tax cases) and indicate why they are important.

The documents are not public rulings or legal advice, and are not binding on the ATO. The episodes released already are listed below:

To get further episodes, go to the ATO’s legal database page, and search for “interpretation NOW”. You can also subscribe to get alerts when the database has been updated.

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