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Thematic Issue: Abuse of Power / General

Judicial Review and the Tax Assessment-Making Process


John Azzi

Noting the ‘deep concern’ of taxpayers and stakeholders with how the assessment power is sometimes used, this article demonstrates that notwithstanding the statutory process for overturning an assessment in part IVC of the Taxation Administration Act 1953 (Cth) and recent judicial comments constraining the scope of judicial review for jurisdictional error, judicial review is nevertheless available to invalidate a default assessment or one made at any time where the Commissioner merely suspects the taxpayer engaged in fraud or evasion without any probative evidence to this effect. As will appear, in either instance the assessment making process may be challenged in judicial review proceedings for legal unreasonableness, which markedly differs, and is otherwise excluded, from a part IVC challenge but which fundamentally bears on whether there has been abuse of the assessment-making power and thus whether the ensuing assessment satisfies the statutory description of assessment.

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(2022) 45(1) UNSWLJ 251: