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Law Council of Australia


ATO Legal Professional Privilege Protocol

The Law Council of Australia appreciates the context underpinning the development of the Australian Taxation Office’s (ATO) draft legal professional privilege (LPP) protocol (consultation draft Protocol), and welcomes attempts to assist advisers and taxpayers to work through LPP matters.

Indeed, the Law Council and its Business Law Section (BLS) acknowledges the ATO’s constructive engagement to date with its Working Group consisting of members of the BLS Taxation Committee, and welcomes those areas in the consultation draft Protocol that have been amended to reflect previous feedback provided by this Working Group.

This submission raises a number of key concerns with the consultation draft Protocol, both in terms of its consistency with established principles of LPP, and professional and ethical obligations held by the legal profession. In terms of specific feedback, the Law Council offers a number of observations in relation to the practical effect of the consultation draft Protocol, including in relation to:

These matters, and others, are addressed in further detail within this submission. At all times, this response intends to promote the view that it is in both the ATO’s and the community’s interests to achieve the dual goals of:

The Law Council looks forward to continuing to work collaboratively with the ATO and other stakeholders to pursue an acceptable protocol that strikes the correct balance between these two objectives.


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