ATO Decision Impact Statement: Access to family court documents

The ATO has released a Decision Impact Statement on the decision of the Full Court of the Family Court in FCT & Darling and Anor [2014] FamCAFC 59. In that case, Full Court of the Family Court ruled that the Court at first instance in FCT & Darling and Anor [2013] FamCA 118 wrongly applied its discretion to prevent the Commissioner from using certain documents filed in the Court for the purposes of an audit of one of the parties to the proceedings (and related entities) in relation to the 1991 to 2010 income years.

The High Court found that there was no point of law suitable to a grant of special leave. The ATO noted that where the Commissioner, as a non-party to litigation, seeks access to court documents for use other than in the proceeding in which the documents were filed, the Commissioner will make an application to the court for release from the implied obligation.