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Case Study – Deceased estate
The complainant was not able to finalise her daughter’s deceased estate with the ATO as it required her to provide it with a Letter of Administration (LOA) before it would recognise her as a legal personal representative (LPR). The complainant experienced difficulties in her attempts to obtain a LOA. The Supreme Court of South Australia did not provide her with a LOA as her deceased daughter had no estate to administer and requested that she discuss the matter further directly with the ATO given the financial costs that she would incur in further attempts to obtain a LOA.
During our initial discussions with the ATO, the ATO did not agree to release the monies in the estate to the complainant.
The concerns raised by the complainant were similar to those that we had examined in our review of Death and Taxes: An Investigation into Australian Taxation Office Systems and Processes for dealing with Deceased Estates. Amongst other things, the IGTO had recommended that the ATO confirms its position on the interaction between State and Territory succession laws and tax laws to confirm which ‘representatives’ of the deceased can represent the deceased for various tax purposes, particularly in circumstances where neither probate nor LOA are required by State and Territory succession law (Recommendation 7). Accordingly, our office requested the ATO to re-consider the complainant’s circumstance in light of recommendation 7.
The ATO re-considered the complainant’s circumstance and, having regard to the IGTO’s review investigation as well as work being progressed to implement recommendations from that investigation, approved release of the estate monies to the complainant.