Members of the public will be able to access pro-bono tax assistance when the new Curtin Tax Clinic – an innovative, student work experience project – officially opens on 2 July 2018.
The Clinic, operating within Curtin University’s Faculty of Business and Law, will allow students to work closely with clients and industry partners to provide independent assistance, representation and advice to help people in dealing with any concerns relating to the Australian Taxation Office.
Mrs Annette Morgan, the Clinic Director and a registered tax agent from the Curtin Law School, said the Curtin Tax Clinic is a unique project because it has been adapted into the Australian tertiary education framework.
“The Curtin Tax Clinic will bring students, industry and members of the public together in a practical learning environment aimed at the timely resolution of taxpayers’ issues,” Mrs Morgan said.
“Vulnerable individuals and small businesses are directly affected by a lack of resources and knowledge provided currently and the clinic will help to address gaps in the delivery of taxation education and service to the Australian community.
“The clinic will enhance the education of Curtin students by allowing them to immerse themselves in a practical workspace, related to their chosen academic discipline or career goals.”
Mr Donovan Castelyn, also from the Curtin Law School, said the Curtin Tax Clinic would distinguish itself from traditional tax practices by drawing on the joint expertise of experienced practitioners and students from the fields of Law and Commerce.
“The clinic is uniquely placed to offer pro-bono tax assistance to qualifying members of the community who may be experiencing a tax-related issue, acting as a reliable intermediary between the taxpayer and the revenue authority,” Mr Castelyn said.
Mr Ali Noroozi, the Inspector-General of Taxation, said he would be observing the outcomes of the Curtin Tax Clinic closely.
“We have considered the US experience with Low Income Taxpayer Clinics in the past. These Clinics have the potential to be of significant assistance to vulnerable taxpayers who have a legitimate basis to challenge ATO decisions,” Mr Noroozi said.
“We will be keenly observing the Curtin Tax Clinic, its outcomes and feedback from taxpayers who will be using its services.”
The Curtin Tax Clinic will endeavour to represent, advise or otherwise assist qualifying taxpayers with their tax-related concerns, including resolving ATO audits, resolving matters related to the payment of income tax, requests for remission of penalties, requests for hardship allowance, applications related to business or personal affairs, preparation of objections, and preparations of Private Binding Ruling applications.
Greenstone Legal will be the first legal firm to assist students and staff in facilitating the services of the Curtin Tax Clinic. Its industry partners will be a source of valuable assistance including, where necessary, progressing matters through further dispute resolution channels such as the Administrative Appeals Tribunal.
Members of the public will be able to access services offered by the Curtin Tax Clinic from 2 July 2018.
For further information or to apply for assistance, visit: https://businesslaw.curtin.edu.au/law/tax-clinic/