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Report 17 - Review of Taxation Decisions by Boards of Review

Administrative Review Council report

Administrative law
Publication date

Review of Taxation Decisions by Boards of Review, 1983

Summary of the report

The report was transmitted to the Government on 6 June 1983, and was tabled in the Parliament on 15 September 1983.

The Council's main recommendation was that the existing review jurisdiction of the Boards of Review should be vested in the Administrative Appeals Tribunal ('AAT'). Other recommendations flowed from this main recommendation. These include that:

  • the legislative provision permitting a taxpayer to request the Commissioner to refer their objection to a Board of Review should be amended to substitute the AAT for the Board,
  • provision should be made for section 28 of the Administrative Appeals Tribunal Act 1975 ('AAT Act') not to apply in relation to review by the AAT of decisions presently reviewable by Boards of Review,
  • the operation of section 37 of the AAT Act should be amended in relation to taxation decisions to provide that the Commissioner of Taxation should lodge with the AAT the statement and documents mentioned in that section, at the time the case was referred to the AAT,
  • the Commissioner should be authorised to grant, in the Commissioner's discretion and on specified grounds, an extension of time for lodgement of objections and requests for reference or appeal
  • a refusal by the Commissioner to grant such an extension of time should be reviewable by the AAT,
  • provision should be made for the taxpayer, when seeking a review of a decision, to be limited to the grounds stated in their objection, unless the AAT otherwise orders, and
  • section 41 of the AAT Act should not apply to taxation decisions, when the AAT is vested with current jurisdiction of Boards of Review.

Response to the report

The Taxation Boards of Review (Transfer of Jurisdiction) Act 1986 substantially implemented the recommendations made by the Council. That Act abolished the existing Boards of Review, and created a separate Taxation Appeals Division of the AAT, to which members are assigned after consultation between the Attorney-General and the Treasurer. Contrary to the Council's recommendations, hearings in relation to taxation reviews were to be conducted in private, unless the taxpayer requested a public hearing, and the identity of the taxpayer was not to be revealed in the published reasons for decision.