What Can the United Kingdom's Tax Dispute Resolution System Learn from Australia? An Evaluation and Recommendations from a Dispute Systems Design Perspective
36 Pages Posted: 20 Apr 2017
Date Written: 2017
The way in which tax disputes are managed and resolved can have a significant impact on the overall experience that taxpayers may have in interacting with revenue authorities. This in turn can impact on taxpayer voluntary compliance. A number of revenue authorities around the world have introduced various initiatives aimed at preventing or resolving disputes earlier in the disputes process. One of which is the introduction of in‑house facilitation, a form of alternative dispute resolution (ADR) that generally utilises a revenue authority member of staff trained in mediation techniques to help facilitate an agreement between parties. HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) in the United Kingdom (UK) and the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) in Australia formally adopted forms of in‑house facilitation programs in 2013 and 2014, respectively. Set against this background, this article uses dispute systems design (DSD) principles to evaluate the tax dispute resolution system in the UK and consequently makes recommendations for improvements to the system, drawing from DSD features of the Australian tax dispute resolution system and the ATO’s current “Reinventing the ATO” transformation project. The recommendations put forward in this article include a greater integration of the dispute resolution system and ADR within the overall tax administration system and improvements in the support of the system by HMRC members at all levels.
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