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  • How we deal with your objection

    When we receive an objection, we review the facts and evidence you provide and come to a decision. We may contact you or your representative to discuss your objection, or request further information. We will also discuss how long your objection may take to resolve.

    You can help minimise delays by responding promptly to requests.

    If the objection is in your favour, we will amend our original decision and minimise your cost. Money we owe you will also be paid including any interest you are entitled to.

    Once we have made a decision on your objection, we will send you:

    • a notice of amended assessment
    • a notice of decision that includes the reasons for our decision
    • information on how to seek a review through a tribunal or court if you are dissatisfied with our decision
    • information on how to pay any outstanding amount of tax.

    If we have not responded to your objection within 60 days of lodgment, you can give us written notice to make a decision. If we don't make a decision within 60 days of this notice, your objection is deemed to be disallowed – this allows you to seek an external review by a court or tribunal. If we have requested additional information prior to you giving us written notice to make a decision, the 60-day period starts from when you supply the information.

    Private ruling objections

    Objections to private rulings may be reviewed, and any additional information we didn't consider will be considered and discussed with you before we make a decision.

    If the new information makes a difference to the facts in the original ruling, we may ask you to apply for a new private ruling.

    Communication protocols governing objections

    We are committed to treating all taxpayers fairly and improving your experience dealing with us, including when seeking an internal review of decisions.

    We do this by being open and transparent about our decisions and decision-making processes, and providing a fair and impartial review.

    Our communication protocols govern the communications between reviewing officers and officers involved in making the original decision. All our other relevant policies and processes also continue to apply.

    Reviewing officer’s responsibilities

    Independence

    If the objection is a review of an earlier decision, the objection decision-maker will:

    • be from our Review and Dispute Resolution (RDR) business line
    • not have had any prior involvement in the case as part of the original decision-making process (other than as the review officer in an independent review)
    • manage communication and engagement with other ATO officers.

    If the objection is not in relation to an earlier decision (a 'self-objection' against an assessment which did not involve an audit), the objection decision-maker will be:

    • from our Review and Dispute Resolution business line
    • generally subject to these protocols,
    • able to involve other areas of the ATO more freely.

    Open and transparent internal communications

    It is expected:

    • the evidence and reasons supporting the original decision will have already been provided or explained to you as part of the original decision-making process
    • this information, in addition to information provided by you, will be sufficient for the reviewing officer to resolve the objection
    • where necessary, the reviewing officer can contact the original decision-maker or other ATO officers involved in the original decision-making to better understand the facts and reasons behind the decision, including where new information is raised
    • where necessary, the reviewing officer will seek independent internal or external advice
    • a reviewing officer will consider opportunities for early and alternative dispute resolution and may need to balance these considerations against other strategic considerations
    • reviewing officers will advise you of discussions with the original decision-maker, and other ATO officers or independent advisors involved in the original decision, and any discussions of broader strategic issues relating to the case.

    Responsibilities of officers involved in the original decision-making process:

    The original decision-maker, and other officers who have had substantive involvement in the original decision-making process, will:

    • ensure the relevant case records are up to date and complete
    • explain the basis of their decision when required to do so by the reviewing officer
    • ensure that information provided to the reviewing officer is fair, objective and supported by evidence
    • be available to the reviewing officer for meetings with you or your representatives where needed
    • not otherwise initiate contact with the reviewing officer.

    Further action

    If you are dissatisfied with our decision on your objection, you can apply for an independent external review. We explain your options when we advise you of our decision on your objection.

    You have the right under tax law to go to the Administrative Appeals Tribunal (AAT) or the Federal Court of Australia for a review of some of our actions or decisions. In most cases, you need to have lodged an objection with us first. There are also other external avenues you could use in seeking to have our decision reviewed.

    Individuals or small businesses or not-for-profits with a tax or superannuation dispute can use our in-house facilitation service.

    Next steps:

    See also:

    Last modified: 10 Oct 2017QC 33820