In 2014–15 we sent letters to some taxpayers as part of a trial to confirm that their 2014–15 tax return was finalised. We are continuing this trial for the 2015–16 income tax return year.
We have only sent a letter to a small group of people during the trial. If you don't receive a letter it doesn't mean something is wrong with your return.
Certainty letter information
Why you received a letter
We sent you a certainty letter to acknowledge and provide certainty to taxpayers like you that meet their obligations and do the right thing with their tax. Receiving this letter means we have completed our routine information checks on your tax return and are satisfied with the information provided.
We will not be conducting any further review or audit of your 2015–16 return. Your 2015–16 tax return is now finalised.
How you were selected to receive a letter
The certainty letter is being trialled with a sample of people who meet certain criteria. You received this letter because for the 2015–16 income tax year:
- you lodged your return electronically by myTax or via a tax agent
- you had taxable income under $180,000
- your income was only from salary or wages, allowances, Australian Government allowances and payments, gross interest and dividends
- deductions you claimed were work-related expenses, interest or dividend deductions, gifts and donations or cost of managing tax affairs
- a range of other factors, including good lodgment, compliance and debt history
- you had straightforward tax affairs (such as no links to other entities).
Not everyone who meets the criteria will receive a letter during the trial.
Tax agents and this letter
We are advising tax agents about the trial. If you’ve received a certainty letter, your agent will have been advised, and they will have received a generic copy of the letter.
Routine information checks we do
We receive information from a variety of third-party sources compiled electronically, validated, analysed and used for a range of activities. Matching returns against this information makes it possible for us to ensure people:
- lodge tax returns when required to do so
- correctly declare their income and claim offsets and other benefits
- comply with their obligations.
This allows us to detect people operating outside the tax system, detect fraud and recover debt.
If you have your 2015–16 notice of assessment already
Under the self-assessment system we accept the claims you make in your tax return, usually without adjustment, and we issue a notice of assessment. However, your return may still be subject to further review or audit.
We will amend your assessment if we consider your return contained materially incorrect information. We usually perform these reviews within two years of issuing your assessment; although this can be extended in some circumstances.
The certainty letter confirms that we will not be conducting any further review or audit of your 2015–16 tax return. This applies except in exceptional circumstances, for example if we receive additional information about your return that would indicate fraud or evasion.
Fraud or evasion and action we take
If we become aware of additional information that indicates deliberate avoidance of tax due to fraud or evasion then we will advise you that the certainty letter no longer applies to you. We will outline the reasons why you are now subject to a review or audit.
Prior year returns
This letter relates to your 2015–16 tax return only which is now finalised. It doesn't relate to prior year returns that are not finalised.
Keeping your tax records
You are still required to keep your tax records for your 2015–15 tax return. Good records can help you complete your tax return in future years.
If you want to lodge an amendment
If you discover a mistake with your original 2015–16 tax return, you can still lodge an amendment. We will reassess your return based on your amendment. We will advise you if certainty no longer applies to you and outline the reasons.
If you didn’t get a letter
If you don’t receive a letter it doesn’t mean something is wrong with your return. The certainty letter is currently in a trial phase. We have only selected a small group of people to receive the letter.
If you received a letter last year, but not this year
The 2015–16 certainty letter eligibility criteria are the same as for 2014–15. If you have not received a letter this year but received one last year, this means you no longer meet the criteria for this year's trial, based on your 2015–16 tax return.
Here we provide information for people that have received a certainty letter, explaining more about the program and what the letter means.