Care needs to be taken to ensure that all financial information provided to the Court is honest and satisfies the financial disclosure requirements of the Family Law Act. Parties need to be aware that the ATO may gain access to documents, warns family law specialist Jillian Stibbard
In a recent ground-breaking case, the Commissioner of Taxation obtained documents from the Family Court by attending at the Registry, accessing and copying documents from Family Law proceedings.
The Australian Taxation Office sought to use the documents in a tax audit of a party’s financial affairs. Some of the information was available only to the Australian Taxation Office via the documents contained on the Family Court file and would not otherwise have been made public.
This judgement was made based on the importance of the public duty that the ATO performs, although it was warned that coercive power in obtaining access should not be used and that the parties have been given notice.