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Published 23 August 2012 04:59
Under the test case litigation program, the ATO can provide financial assistance to people involved in legal cases considered important to administration of the tax and superannuation systems. In other words, cases that are in the public interest.
The decision regarding whether the ATO should provide funding to a taxpayer is made by its test case litigation panel, currently headed by former Federal Court judge Kevin Lindgren. It also includes Maddocks Lawyers partner Peter Poulos, Hamilton Morello accounting consultant Graeme Wade, as well as two senior ATO panellists, Andrew England (chief tax counsel) and Peter Chochula (senior assistant commissioner).
The program has been operating since the 1990s and in the past financial year there were 14 court and tribunal decisions on test-funded cases. The ATO says the law was clarified in 12 such cases, with changes to the law announced in two.
The Inspector-General of Taxation, Ali Noroozi, pictured, has called for greater transparency in the process.