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  • How we deal with your objection

    When we receive an objection, we review the facts and evidence you give and come to a decision.

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    Contacting you about your objection

    We may contact you or your representative to:

    • discuss your objection
    • ask for more information
    • discuss how long your objection may take to resolve.

    Decision in 60 days

    If we have not responded to your objection in 60 days of lodgment, you can give us written notice to make a decision. Then, if we don't make a decision in 60 days of this notice, your objection is deemed to be disallowed. This means you can seek an external review by a court or tribunal.

    If you gave us a written notice, when the 60 days starts depends on whether we had already asked you to give us supporting information. If we:

    • did, the 60-day period starts from when you give us the information
    • didn't, the 60-day period starts two days after you sent your written notice.

    Giving us supporting information

    As part of your objection, we may ask you to give us supporting information. We will contact you to discuss what information you can give to support your objection.

    We will:

    • work out an agreed due date
    • discuss the consequences of not providing the information in the agreed timeframe.

    If you can't give the supporting information in the agreed time frames, contact us before the due date.

    You can help minimise delays by responding promptly to our requests.

    After we make a decision

    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 the objection is in your favour, we will implement the decision, including amending any assessment if relevant. We will pay money we owe you, including any interest you are entitled to.

    Private ruling objections

    We can review an objection to a private ruling. We will consider any extra information and discuss it 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.

    How we ensure a fair review

    We are committed to:

    • treating all taxpayers fairly
    • 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
    • providing a fair and impartial review.

    Our communication protocols govern the contact 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 your objection is:

    • a review of an earlier decision, the objection decision maker will
      • be from our Objections and Review business line
      • not have had any past 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.
    • not about an earlier decision (for example, an objection against an assessment that did not involve an audit), the objection decision maker will
      • be from our Objections and Review business line
      • generally be subject to these protocols
      • be able to involve other areas of the ATO more freely.

    Open and transparent internal communications

    We expect that:

    • the evidence and reasons supporting the original decision will have already been given or explained to you as part of the original decision-making process
    • this information, as well as information you gave, will be sufficient for the reviewing officer to resolve the objection
    • where needed, 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 needed, 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 tell you about
      • discussions with the original decision maker, and other ATO officers or independent advisors involved in the original decision
      • any discussions of broader strategic issues about 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 they give 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.

    Other reviews

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

    You have the right under tax law to go to the Administrative Appeals Tribunal (AAT)External Link or the Federal Court of Australia for a review of some of our actions or decisions. Usually, you need to have lodged an objection with us first. There are also ways to seek an external review of our decisions.

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

    Last modified: 29 Jul 2022QC 33820