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  • About this publication

    Attention

    Warning:

    This information may not apply to the current year. Check the content carefully to ensure it is applicable to your circumstances.

    End of attention

    This publication is available free from the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) . The ATO prohibits any party from selling it. We regularly revise our publications to take account of changes to the law.

    If you have an enquiry relating to your circumstances which this publication does not cover, ring the general enquiries helpline 13 28 61 or get help from a tax adviser.

    As part of our commitment to produce accurate publications, taxpayers will not be subject to penalties if it is demonstrated that they based a tax claim on wrong information supplied by the ATO.

    How self-assessment affects most individuals

    Self-assessment means the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) uses the information you give in your tax return to work out your refund or tax bill. You are required by law to make sure you have shown all your assessable income and claimed only the deductions and rebates to which you are entitled.

    What are your responsibilities?

    Even if someone else - including a tax agent - helps you to prepare your tax return, you are still legally responsible for the accuracy of the information.

    What if you lodge an incorrect tax return?

    Our computers continually check for missing or wrong information. We have audit programs designed to detect where taxpayers have not declared all of their assessable income or where they have incorrectly claimed deductions or rebates. If you become aware that your tax return is incorrect, you must contact us straightaway.

    Initiatives to complement self-assessment

    There are a number of initiatives administered by the ATO which complement self-assessment. Examples include:

    • a change in penalty provisions so that, if you take reasonable care with your tax affairs, you will not receive a penalty for honest mistakes - but please note that interest on omitted income or overclaimed deductions and rebates could still be payable
    • the process for applying for a private ruling
    • your entitlement to interest on early payment - or overpayment - of a tax debt
    • the process for applying for an amendment if you find you left something out of your tax return.

    Do you need to ask for a private ruling?

    If you have a concern about the way tax law applies to your personal tax affairs, you may want to ask for a private ruling. private ruling will relate just to your situation. Write to the ATO describing your situation in detail and ask for advice. Include your tax file number. If you lodge your tax return before you receive your private ruling, be aware that the ruling may alter the accuracy of your return.

    You can ask for a review of a private ruling decision if you disagree with it, even if you have not received your assessment. The tax office that made the ruling can give you more information about review procedures.

    Copies of publications

    To get a copy of any publication referred to in this book:

    • see our Internet site at www.ato.gov.au
    • ring our publications distribution service on 1300 720 092 for the cost of a local call, or
    • visit an ATO office.

    Feedback

    Reader feedback helps us to improve the information we provide. If you have any comments to make about this booklet, please write to:

    The Editor
    Public Assistance Branch
    Australian Taxation Office
    2 Constitution Avenue
    CANBERRA ACT 2601

    As this is a publications area only, any tax matters will be passed on to a technical area. Otherwise you can ring our general enquiries number, 13 28 61, for help.

    Last modified: 18 Sep 2009QC 18323