Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Tax Office views on accessing Family Court documents

As mentioned in last week’s post, in the case of Darling, the Tax Office was given access to material lodged as part of family law proceedings, to further its audit activities in relation to the husband of the marriage.

The Tax Office has now released a Decision Impact Statement in relation to its intended approach in this area.  As usual, a full copy of the document is available via the following link - http://law.ato.gov.au/atolaw/view.htm?DocID=LIT/ICD/M34of2014/00001

In addition to providing a useful summary of the key aspects of the court decision, the Statement confirms –
  1. There is an implied obligation on the Tax Office not to make use of documents disclosed as part of a family law case for a purpose not related to the family court litigation (ie to assist the Tax Office with its tax audit activities).

  2. Whenever the Tax Office is wanting access to court documents for use other than in relation to the case in which the documents were filed, it will make an application to the court for release from the implied obligation.

  3. In making an application to court, the Tax Office will have regard to the factors set out in the Darling decision (as summarised in last week’s post).
 Until next week.

Image credit: Adam Rifkin cc