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Objecting to an ATO Decision – the Objections Process


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The income tax system in Australia is based on a self-assessment system. This means that all information you provide to the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) is taken to be true and correct. However, if the ATO has reason to believe something is not right, they may have the ability to review your tax return. This may lead to the ATO increasing or decreasing your tax payable by issuing an amended assessment. Depending on the circumstances, the ATO may also issue you with penalties and interest.

What can you do if you disagree with an ATO decision?

If you disagree with a decision or penalties imposed by the ATO then you have the ability to lodge an objection. All objections are subject to time limitations and these objection periods vary from 60 days to 4 years, depending on the type of decision.

What decisions can you object to?

There are a number of ATO decisions you can object to, including (but not limited to):

  • Australian Business Numbers;
  • Fringe Benefits Tax;
  • Goods and Services Tax;
  • Income tax;
  • Penalties and interest; and
  • Superannuation.

How do you object to a decision?

 All objections must be lodged in writing. This can be done by using the ATO’s objection form, or in a letter.

What should you include in your objection?

Your objection must contain the following information:

  • Your full details, including TFN or ABN;
  • Full details about the decision you are objecting to;
  • Full details as to why you believe the ATO decision is incorrect, including relevant facts, arguments and relevant information and documentation;
  • A declaration stating all information and supporting documentation provided is true and correct; and
  • Signature and date.

How will the ATO deal with your objection?

Upon receipt of your objection, the ATO will review all facts and evidence outlined in your objection in order to reach a decision. The ATO may contact you to discuss your objection or request further information.  The ATO will then issue a notice of amended assessment and a notice of decision, as well as other information if your objection is unsuccessful. If your objection is successful however, the ATO will amend their original decision and pay any monies owing to you with interest.

Disclaimer: The content of this article is general in nature and is presented for informative purposes. It is not intended to constitute tax or financial advice, whether general or personal nor is it intended to imply any recommendation or opinion about a financial product. It does not take into consideration your personal situation and may not be relevant to circumstances. Before taking any action, consider your own particular circumstances and seek professional advice. This content is protected by copyright laws and various other intellectual property laws. It is not to be modified, reproduced or republished without prior written consent.

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