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Tax policy and controversy

Staying up-to-date with global tax policy and controversy changes can be challenging for even the most dedicated tax department. Our tax policy and controversy network, which includes practitioners in over 85 countries – many of whom are ex-government officials – can help you understand policy changes and resolve difficult or sensitive tax disputes around the world.

Tax policy

With global tax policy in a flux, planning for potential changes in each jurisdiction becomes even more important for multinationals. Our global tax policy network has extensive experience helping develop and implement policy initiatives, both as external and internal advisors to governments and companies. See how our network of tax policy professionals and business modelers can help your business identify and monitor the trends in each country and address specific areas of tax policy.

Tax controversy

Our global tax controversy network is uniquely positioned to help businesses prevent, manage and resolve their tax controversy issues. Our services include pre-filing controversy management and tracking, dispute resolution, return filing, preparing relevant back-up documentation and working with businesses to implement tax controversy management best practices. Using our global network and first-class technology, we help businesses address risk, improve tax performance, better manage controversy and resolve tax disputes — wherever they do business.

At each stage of the tax audit life cycle, from managing the ATO’s information gathering processing and assessment, through to objection and litigation, we create opportunities to resolve the matter for you.

Our multi-disciplinary team combines the knowledge and skills of lawyers and accountants to help you resolve your problems in the following fields:

Tax litigation

Tax litigation is distinct from other forms of commercial litigation. The Federal Court and Administrative Appeals Tribunal rules and procedures are different and the rules of engagement with the ATO are prescribed.

With over 20 lawyers with dedicated tax litigation experience, we have the depth and capabilities to represent you in the appropriate forum, including the:

  • Administrative Appeals Tribunal
  • State Civil and Administrative Tribunals
  • State Supreme Courts
  • Federal Court of Australia
  • High Court of Australia

We have strong relationships with the Senior Revenue Bar to achieve the best possible resolution of your dispute.

Alternative dispute resolution services

The ATO is far more open to Alternative Dispute Resolution than was previously the case, and we have had recent successes in resolving tax disputes by:

  • Informal settlement discussions
  • Early neutral evaluation
  • Mediation
  • Conciliation

Taxpayers will often have legitimate strategic reasons for seeking to determine a matter in a court or tribunal.

We proactively consider opportunities to resolve matters through a number of different Alternative Dispute Resolution channels.

Alternative Dispute Resolution provides our clients with a more timely, cost-effective, and risk averse approach to resolving a tax dispute.

Our team is skilled in negotiating settlements with the ATO - whether simple or complex - capitalising on our knowledge of ATO protocol and our experience in advocating for our clients against the ATO.

Management of ATO risk reviews, audits, amendments, and objections

We deal with the ATO on a daily basis, managing ATO investigations, whether they are at the pre-compliance, audit stage or beyond.

Services we provide in this area include:

  • Guidance and/or practical management of audit process
  • Strategic review of client positions to determine appropriate taxpayer outcomes and testing of the strength of technical positions, including reviewing documentation
  • Advice concerning taxpayer rights and obligations
  • Legal advice
  • Evidentiary considerations and management of interaction with the ATO (including response to information requests and developing protocols and procedures for handling ATO relationships).

Our Tax Controversy team has a unique understanding of the ATO objection process. We assist clients in forming a strategic plan to deal with an objection and strive to ensure that your objection is determined efficiently by the ATO.
If you wish to object to an ATO decision, we can assist at any stage of the objection process - from drafting the objection and collating information, to liaising with the appropriate objection officers and working with you and the ATO to resolve the dispute prior to litigation.

Tax corporate governance and tax risk management

In recent years, the ATO has made it a requirement for corporate taxpayers to have 'good Tax Corporate Governance'.

EY's Tax Controversy practice is the market leader in Tax Corporate Governance, having developed over 40 formal policies for clients which meet the ATO requirements and manage tax risks.

We assist clients to define their tax strategy, formalise their Board reporting of tax issues and risks, manage tax controversies, meet compliance requirements (such as dealing with tax corporate governance questionnaires), and understand the taxes relevant to their business.

EY is also actively involved in a number of ATO consultative committees, contributes to thought leadership and frequently speaks at industry events in relation to tax risk management, Tax Corporate Governance and Board reporting.


When it comes to complicated tax transactions, we offer services to help you navigate the ATO ruling process.

We have a wealth of experience in:

  • Drafting applications for a Private Binding Ruling or Class Ruling
  • Entering into Early Engagement discussions with officers of the ATO prior to the lodgment of your ruling request
  • Challenging an ATO ruling decision where necessary


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