This is an HTML version of an attachment to the Freedom of Information request 'Exemptions Provided Under the Relevant Acts to Commonwealth Superannuation Corporation'.

Trent Morrison-Francis   
Our ref: 
4 February 2022
Dear Mr Morrison-Francis 
Freedom of Information Act 1982 – Request Consultation Notice 
I refer to your two requests for documents under the Freedom of Information Act 1982 (FOI Act), 
made via the ‘Right To Know’ website and received by our office on 7 January 2022. 
I am an officer authorised under subsection 23(1) of the FOI Act to make decisions in relation to 
FOI requests. 
Notice under subsection 24AB(2) of the FOI Act  
This is a notice of my intention to refuse your requests for documents pursuant to section 24 of 
the FOI Act.  
Section 24 of the FOI Act states: 
(1)  If an agency or Minister is satisfied, when dealing with a request for a document, that a practical 
refusal reason exists in relation to the request (see section 24AA), the agency or Minister: 
(a)  Must undertake a request consultation process (see section 24AB); and 
(b)  If, after the request consultation process, the agency or Minister is satisfied that the 
practical refusal reason still exists – the agency or Minister may refuse to give access to 
the document in accordance with the request.  
Subsection 24AA(1) of the FOI Act states: 
(1)  For the purposes of section 24, a practical refusal reason exists in relation to a request for a 
document if either (or both) of the following applies: 
(a)  The work involved in processing the request: 
(i)  In the case of an agency – would substantially and unreasonably divert the 
resources of the agency from its other operations; 
(ii)  … 
(b)  The request does not satisfy the requirement in paragraph 15(2)(b) (identification of 
Paragraph 15(2)(b) states that a request must “provide such information concerning the 
document as is reasonably necessary to enable a responsible officer of the agency to identify it”. 
Having reviewed your requests dated 7 January 2022, and having consulted with senior officers 
in the relevant ATO business line, I am of the view that a ‘practical refusal reason’ exists in 
relation to your requests. 

A practical refusal reason exists because, in summary: 
  Across multiple parts to your requests, I consider that you have not provided sufficient 
information that would enable us to reasonably, and meaningfully, conduct searches for 
documents, and identify what you mean by (or what you are specifically looking for), in 
relation to those parts. In some instances, we consider we may not have some of the 
categories of documents you are seeking at all, however without sufficient information it 
is difficult to confirm this or suggest other ways in which we can assist. 
  Given the breadth of what you have asked for in more than 20 different parts, across 
both of your requests, I am also of the view that, even if we were to attempt to search for 
and retrieve documents potentially within the scope of all parts, (notwithstanding the 
difficulties above), I consider that to do so would also substantially and unreasonably 
divert the resources of the ATO from its other operations.   
Further detail about my reasons for finding a ‘practical refusal reason’ are set out below.  
Before I make a final decision to refuse your requests, the purpose of this notice is to give you 
the opportunity to revise your requests. This is called a ‘request consultation process’ as set out 
under section 24AB of the FOI Act.   
You have 14 days to respond to this section 24AB ‘request consultation’ letter via one of the 
ways set out below. If you do not respond to this letter within the 14 days, your requests will be 
taken to be withdrawn.  
Your FOI requests 
As mentioned above, we received two FOI requests from you via the ‘Right To Know’ website on 
7 January 2022. Subsection 24(2) of the FOI Act states that, for the purposes of considering 
whether a practical refusal reason exists, the agency may treat two or more requests as a single 
request if the agency “is satisfied that (a) the requests relate to the same document or 
documents; or (b) the requests relate to documents, the subject matter of which is substantially 
the same.”  
I have considered the subject matter of your two requests, and I consider that the subject matter 
of the two requests is substantially the same because: 
  They both refer to records that the ATO holds regarding information exchanged with, or 
which relate to, the Commonwealth Superannuation Corporation (CSC); 
  They both cover the same schemes that the CSC manages; and 
  They both cover the same time period.  
While I am therefore treating your requests as a ‘single’ request, for the purposes of subsection 
24(2) and assessing a ‘practical refusal reason’, I will nevertheless refer to the scope of your 
‘first’ and ‘second’ requests below, for ease of reference. 
In the first email received by the ATO (first request), you made a request for: 
Any documents held by the ATO in relation to any "Exemptions" or "Wavers" as defined by the 
Webster Dictionary or socially accepted definitions of the words in the country of Australia to 
comply with any legislation that the ATO has powers, authority or manages under legislation for its 
management as a superannuation provider.  
To remove any doubt we are asking for all schemes that Commonwealth Superannuation 
Corporation manages including  

ABN: 19 415 776 361 
RSE: R1004649 
ABN: 39 798 362 763 
Military Super  
ABN: 50 925 523 120 
RSE: R1000306 
ADF Super  
ABN: 90 302 247 344 
RSE R1077063 
ADF Cover  
ABN: 64 250 674 722 
The period for the request relates to all documents created on or after the 01st January 2017 by 
either the ATO and or the Commonwealth Superannuation Corporation (where practicable if the 
ATO is not the creator of the documents).  

In the second email received by the ATO (second request), you made a request for: 
1. Number of Veterans in receipt of a Class A pension*  
2. Number of Veterans in receipt of a Class B pension*  
3. Number of Veterans in receipt of a Class C pension*  
4. Number of veterans that had been APPROVED Withholding Variations for the FY 2021 applied 
by your agency  
5. Number of veterans that had been REJECTED Withholding Variations for the FY 2021 applied 
by your agency  
6. Number of veterans that had been APPROVED Withholding Variations for the FY 2022 applied 
by your agency  
7. Number of veterans that had been REJECTED Withholding Variations for the FY 2022 applied 
by your agency  
8. Number of veterans that had been PENDING Withholding Variations for the FY 2022 applied by 
your agency  
9. Documents that clearly show the number of veterans that are receiving a LARGER YEARLY 
income after the relevant Taxation has been withheld at the END OF THE YEAR.  
10. Documents that clearly show the number of veterans that are receiving a LARGER income 
after the relevant Taxation has been withheld in each pay run performed by the Commonwealth 
Superannuation Corporation.  
11. Documents that clearly show the number of veterans that are receiving a SMALLER YEARLY 
income after the relevant Taxation has been withheld at the END OF THE YEAR.  
12. Documents that clearly show the number of veterans that are receiving a SMALLER income 
after the relevant Taxation has been withheld in each pay run performed by the Commonwealth 
Superannuation Corporation.  
13. If your agency has ever reported incorrect figures in relation to the above please provide any 
copy of a retraction, correction statement or any document confirming that you have modified the 
incorrect information.  
14. Number of Veterans in receipt of a Class A pension* that your agency is refusing to treat as a 
Lump Sum Payment as defined by the relevant acts and the decision.  
15. Number of Veterans in receipt of a Class B pension* that your agency is refusing to treat as a 
Lump Sum Payment as defined by the relevant acts and the decision. 
16. Number of Veterans in receipt of a Class C pension* that your agency is refusing to treat as a 
Lump Sum Payment as defined by the relevant acts and the decision. 
17. The TOTAL number of Veterans that have applied for a review of previous tax returns that 
were affected by the decision to date regardless of the status of this request.  
18. The TOTAL number of Veterans that have applied for a review of previous tax returns that 
were affected by the decision to date that your department still has not made corrections to.  

19. Any documents that your department has sent to the "Veteran Community" directly via post, 
fax, email advising them that they can apply for Disability Superannuation Benefit "DSB" after the 
Federal Court handed down the Douglas decision. 
20. Copies of any ministerial briefing documents that relate to the above-mentioned case. 
21. Any other document that you deem necessary to release as part of this request to help the 
wider community understand or interpret the documents above.  
I believe due to the significant amount of misinformation that is being presented by government 
agencies about this matter I note that as per the Freedom of Information Act an agency such as 
yours is not able to use the public interest exemptions for the following reasons  
1. access to the document could result in embarrassment to the Commonwealth Government, or 
cause a loss of confidence in the Commonwealth Government; or  
2. access to the document could result in any person misinterpreting or misunderstanding the 
Furthermore, I remind you that under the act that the agency, or the Minister, must publish the 
information to members of the public generally on a website by 
(a)  making the information available for downloading from the website; or 
(b)  publishing on the website a link to another website, from which the information can be 
downloaded; or 
(c)  publishing on the website other details of how the information may be obtained. 
In relation to the above, the agency or Minister must comply with this section within 10 working 
days after the day the person is given access to the document. 
To remove any doubt we are asking for all schemes that Commonwealth Superannuation 
Corporation manages including 
ABN: 19 415 776 361 
RSE: R1004649 
ABN: 39 798 362 763 
Military Super 
ABN: 50 925 523 120 
RSE: R1000306 
ADF Super 
ABN: 90 302 247 344 
RSE R1077063 
ADF Cover 
ABN: 64 250 674 722 
The period for the request relates to all documents created on or after the 01st January 2017 by 
either the ATO and or the Commonwealth Superannuation Corporation (where practicable if your 
office is not the creator of the documents). 

Reasons why I am of a view that a practical refusal reason exists  
As foreshadowed above and for the reasons set out below, I am of the view that a practical refusal 
reason as defined in section 24AA of the FOI Act exists in relation to your requests. 
Considerations relevant to your first request 

I consider that the language that you have used in your first request (i.e. ‘Any documents… in 
relation to any “Exemptions” or “Wavers”…’
) is very broad, and consequently does not sufficiently 
identify  documents  which  you  are  seeking  to  the  extent  that  it  would  allow  myself,  or  another 
responsible officer of the ATO, to reasonably search for and locate what you have asked for under 
I have reviewed the previous requests that you made under FOI, in particular your requests dated 
4 June 2021 (our references 1-PMJUMS7 and 1-PM9II0A) and 17 July 2021 (our references 1-
Q4GO9ZI and 1-Q4FX2EC).  
I note that in your request with reference 1-PMJUMS7, you asked for a copy of “all documents 
that shows that the Commissioner of Taxation or other authority has provided Commonwealth 
superannuation with an exception to comply with the Douglas ruling in relation to Military Super 
for the financial years.”
 In a decision dated 2 July 2021, you were advised that no such documents 
could  be  found  or  exist,  and  your  request  was  refused  under  section  24A.  In  this  decision, 
however, you were further advised about the following ‘exemption’ relevant to CSC, in the hope 
that this was of assistance to you: 
…on 11 February 2021, the Commissioner of Taxation provided an exemption, to CSC, from issuing 
PAYG payment summaries that are required under section 16-165 of Schedule 1 to the Taxation 
Administration Act 1953 within 14 days, in respect of certain superannuation lump sum payments 
made to members of specified superannuation schemes. Instead, the CSC will be required to issue 
a single PAYG payment summary within 14 days after the end of the financial year to the member 
covering total superannuation lump sum payments made, total tax withheld and any other reportable 
components for the financial year. 

In response to your further FOI request with reference 1-Q4FX2EC, on 3 September 2021, you 
were provided with a copy of the 11 February 2021 ‘exemption’, referred to above. This was in 
response to your request for “4. Any document's held by your agency that supports that the ATO 
has provided approval \ exemption to issue the payment Summary and upload the EMPDUP 
outside the legislated 14 days required.”
It  appears  you  are  casting  an  even  wider  net  for  documents  to  do  with  any  “Exemptions”  or 
“Wavers”, provided by the ATO in our “management as a superannuation provider”, (as per the 
wording of your current request), however these terms do not provide us with enough information 
to properly search for and identify the documents you are seeking. Given the information (and 
document) that has already been provided to you about a CSC ‘exemption’, as above, we are 
unsure how to interpret your request. It is unclear to us what (else) you might mean, or how else 
we can assist you, over and above our previous responses to do with an ‘exemption’. 
I  have  been  advised  by  a  senior  executive  in  the  Superannuation  and  Employer  Obligations 
business line (SEO) that there is unlikely to be any documents that set out a ‘waiver’, that would 
appear to be appropriate to the scope of your request, as the only recognised category of ‘waiver’ 
as it relates to superannuation concern waivers in respect to outstanding debts; which would fall 
out of the scope of your request as it is not relevant to the CSC’s obligations as a superannuation 
I have further been advised that it is likely that any search for ‘exemptions’ could return results 
about  any  exemptions  in  relation  to  the  reporting/payments/etc.  for  individual  taxpayer’s  or 
member’s circumstances. In these cases, it is highly likely that these documents will be exempt in 
full  under  section  38  of  the  FOI  Act,  which  (amongst  other  things)  exempts  from  release  any 
documents that are prohibited from release under the secrecy provisions set out in Division 355-
B of Schedule 1 to the Taxation Administration Act 1953, and which will take a significant amount 
of time to sort through and exclude. 

It  is  not  clear  whether  the  current  terms  of  your  request  are  seeking  documents  that  apply  in 
specific instances to specific taxpayers, or whether you are seeking more general decisions or 
rulings by the Commissioner or his Delegates.   
Taking into account all of the matters set out above, I am satisfied there is a ‘practical refusal 
reason’ with respect to your first request. We do not have sufficient information to enable us to 
properly search for or identify the documents you are seeking. To cast such a wide net for any 
mention of ‘exemptions’ or ‘waivers’ within ATO records would be an extremely extensive exercise, 
and noting our previous responses under FOI, this also contributes in my view to a finding that 
searches of this kind would be a substantial and unreasonable diversion of our resources. 
Considerations relevant to your second request 
While the terms of your second request are more targeted, I consider that the work required to 
respond to the 21 different parts of your second request, coupled with the work required for your 
first request, significantly adds to the total resources required by our agency to search for and 
process all documents potentially falling within the scope of both requests. As above, I am able to 
consider your requests together for the purposes of section 24 of the FOI Act.  
I also wish to make the following observations which significantly impact our ability to identify what 
documents  may  be  of  interest  to  you  and,  without  further  clarification,  may  not  enable  us  to 
properly assist.  
With regard to points 1 to 3 in your second request, I am advised that the ATO does not administer 
these  pensions  and  as  such,  is  unlikely  to  hold  this  information.  While  the  ATO  could  be  in 
possession of a report or reports which show these figures at a specific point in time, a search 
would need to be undertaken in order to locate any documents containing this information and, 
the records held by the ATO would (therefore), likely be out of date. It is unclear whether the most 
up to date numbers are what you are seeking in which case, as above, the ATO does not hold this 
information as we do not administer these pensions. 
In points 4 to 8, you have asked for statistics showing the number of veterans that have been 
affected in some way by decisions made by the ATO. It is possible that the ATO does not hold this 
information  in  the  form  for  which  you  have  asked,  or  if  the  information  can  be  generated,  it  is 
possible that an ATO officer or officers would need to take a survey of all decisions made by the 
SEO business line over the relevant period, which would be a substantial diversion of resources.  
With regard to items 9 to 12 of your request, I have been advised that the language in which you 
have  put  these  requests  is  unlikely  to  return  any  documents,  as  yearly  income  is  the  same 
regardless of withholding. We therefore consider we are unable to conduct meaningful searches 
for documents, to satisfy what you are looking for, in relation to these parts. 
Similarly, with regard to points 14, 15, and 16 of your request, I have been advised that it is likely 
that no documents exist that match the scope of your request, as any individual that was affected 
by the decision in Douglas would have been processed in accordance with that decision if they 
had sought review. In particular, Class C pensions would not have been affected by the decision 
in Douglas. As above, we are therefore unable to know what to reasonably search for and what 
documents may assist you, in relation to these parts. 
With regard to items 17 and 18 of your request, I understand that the ATO may count and update 
these figures (i.e. ‘The TOTAL number of Veterans that have applied for a review of previous tax 
, on a weekly basis, as well as providing reports on these numbers. This means that 
there could be a significant number of documents that fall within the scope of your request, all but 
the latest of which would contain out of date numbers. Because of this, it would take a significant 
amount of time to process all the documents that could fall within the scope of these parts, and it 

is unclear if this is what you are looking for, as opposed to a document which shows the most up 
to date numbers only.  
I am also advised that, with regard to item 20 of your request, prior to releasing any Ministerial 
submissions and other briefings to Ministers, I would be required to consult with the Minister’s 
offices  and  consider  whether  there  are  any  applicable  exemptions.  This  consultation  process 
would take a significant amount of time. 
Again, taking into account all of the above, I am of the view that a ‘practical refusal reason’ exists 
in relation to both of your requests. I have come to this conclusion on the basis that you have not 
provided  sufficient  information  across  multiples  parts,  in  order  for  me  to  properly  identify  the 
documents  that  you  are  seeking;  and  cumulatively,  your  requests  in  their  current  form  require 
searches and processing that would substantially and unreasonably divert the ATO’s resources 
from its other operations. 
Invitation to revise your request 
Subsection 24AA(1)  of  the  FOI  Act  requires  that,  where  an agency  is  satisfied  that  a  practical 
refusal reason exists, they must undertake a request consultation as described by section 24AB. 
You have the opportunity to revise your requests to enable them to proceed.  
At the outset, I would suggest that you revise your request by describing the nature of the ‘waiver’ 
or ‘exemption’ to comply with relevant legislation that you believe the ATO has given to the CSC, 
and restricting your request to documents to which this applies.  
For example, if there is a particular legislative provision you believe the ‘waiver’ or ‘exemption’ 
applies to, it may be beneficial for you to specify that legislative provision. Alternatively, if there is 
a  particular  obligation  imposed  on  the  CSC  by  the  tax  or  superannuation  legislation  that  you 
believe  the  ‘waiver’  or  ‘exemption’  applies  to  it  might  be  beneficial  for  you  to  describe  that 
obligation. As above, we are otherwise unsure how else we can assist you, over and above our 
previous responses to do with an ‘exemption’. 
I would also suggest that you review the issues raised above in relation to your second request, 
and consider removing certain points where I have advised that documents matching your request 
may not exist; or, where you have asked for certain ‘numbers’ (such as those described at points 
17-18 of your request), that you exclude all but the latest document capturing the most up to date 
numbers only. 
For completeness, information on the ATO’s response to the Douglas decision can be found here: 
Treatment of military invalidity benefits following Full Federal Court decision1, and information on 
CSC’s PAYG withholding obligations following the Douglas decision can be found here: Pay as 
you go withholding for military superannuation payments | Australian Taxation Office ( 
These webpages may provide information to help with your queries, or may assist you to revise 
your requests.  
I will note that all of the above are suggestions only, and that even if you do elect to revise your 
requests, the clarification and reduction in the scope of your requests may not be sufficient to fully 
address the practical refusal reasons that apply.  

Next steps  
The request consultation period runs for 14 days and starts on the day after you receive this 
notice.  Before the end of the consultation period, you must do one of the following, in 
writing, otherwise your requests will be taken to have been withdrawn pursuant to 
subsection 24AB(7) of the FOI Act:  
a)  Withdraw your requests;  
b)  Revise your requests; or 
c)  Tell us that you do not wish to revise your requests.  
During this period, you are welcome to contact me to discuss this request consultation letter.  
If you need more time to respond, please contact me within the 14 day period to discuss an 
extension of time.   
In addition, if you do choose to submit a revised request with a reduced scope, we would ask 
that you also consent (in the same reply) to a 30-day extension under section 15AA of the FOI 
Act. This will allow the ATO to conduct further searches as well as to properly process any 
documents that fall within the scope of a revised request and to make a decision under the FOI 
You can contact me via email to  
Yours sincerely, 
M Tonglee 
A/g Senior Lawyer 
General Counsel, ATO