What is conciliation?

Conciliation is an informal, private meeting we might use to help you and the decision-maker consider possible options to reach an agreement before a hearing.

If we decide to hold conciliation, it will usually be held between 6 and 10 weeks after we receive the application. Conciliation is conducted by a Conciliator, and attended by you and the representative of the decision-maker.

Check the Review of Taxation and Commercial Decisions Practice Direction for more information about conciliation.


Where will conciliation be held?

At an AAT office, however you can attend in person or by telephone.

We will write to you with the date, time and location of the conciliation.


How can I prepare for conciliation?

  • Representation: You do not need a lawyer to attend conciliation, however if you want legal advice or representation you should organise this before conciliation
  • Evidence: Give us any new information, and any information we have requested, before conciliation
  • Review Documents: Read all the review documents you have been given, and make sure you bring them to conciliation – this includes all the documents we have sent you, as well as the T documents and any other documents sent to you by the original decision-maker after you lodged the application.
  • Who will attend: Give us and the decision-maker a list of the people who will attend, at least 3 working days before the conciliation. The decision-maker must also provide a list.
  • Confidential Issues Statement: You and the decision-maker must give us a Confidential Issues Statement (see below), at least 3 working days before the conciliation.

You must also send a copy of any new information to the decision-maker's representative before conciliation. You should use the contact details in the letter they sent you.

Confidential Issues Statement

A Confidential Issues Statement will not be provided to the other party. It should be no more than 3 pages and include:

  • summary of the issues in dispute
  • what you hope to achieve from conciliation
  • list of possible outcomes, from best to worst, if the application is not settled at conciliation
  • assessment of the legal, commercial, business and reputation risks of continuing litigation
  • settlement offers that have been made, if any
  • costs incurred to date
  • taxation applications: the amount in dispute, including the primary tax, penalties and general interest charge, as well as the amounts that have been paid and the amounts that are outstanding
  • how long you estimate a hearing might take and a proposed list of witnesses, in the event the application proceeds to a hearing. 

What happens at conciliation?

The AAT conciliator will give you and the decision-maker an opportunity to:

  • discuss the issues in the case from your perspective
  • discuss information about the case and hear each other's point of view
  • consider possible options for reaching your own agreement
  • record facts or issues where there is agreement, saving time at a hearing
  • discuss what happens next, if full agreement cannot be reached.

Check Confidentiality in ADR processes for information about confidentiality of conciliation.


What happens if I cannot attend the conciliation?

You should tell us as soon as possible and we might be able to change the date.

If you do not attend the conciliation and you do not have a good reason, we might dismiss the review.


Other ADR processes

We can also use other types of alternative dispute resolution processes to help parties reach an agreement before a hearing.