Holding the Tax Commissioner to account

Presented by ANU College of Asia & the Pacific

At a time when the tax base is perceived to be under constant threat, governments and revenue authorities around the world are working to strengthen their tax systems by removing opportunities for aggressive tax planning and simultaneously enhancing the revenue’s ability to detect and crackdown on non-compliance. Drawing on Professor Richard Mulgan’s influential work on government accountability, it is timely to consider whether the external review mechanisms in place in Australia are still able to provide the required degree of oversight in the modern world of tax administration. A phenomenon coined ‘tax exceptionalism’ has been identified in a number of jurisdictions, where an implicit deference to the revenue results in a modified application of administrative law principles to actions of the tax authorities. This seminar will provide an overview and evaluation of the current mechanisms available to taxpayers in Australia to challenge the actions and decisions of the Commissioner of Taxation and the Australian Taxation Office in light of selected recent developments in tax law and administration in order to evaluate whether Australia, too, has developed its own version of tax exceptionalism.

Celeste Black is an Associate Professor at the University of Sydney Law School. She is a member of the Parsons Centre of Commercial, Corporate and Taxation Law and the Australian Centre for Climate and Environmental Law. Celeste teaches and researches in taxation law and commercial law, with particular interests in tax administration, international tax, and the interaction between taxation law and policy and environmental law. She recently completed her PhD on the domestic and international tax implications of carbon trading transactions.

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