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  • Certainty letter

    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.

    See also:

    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.

    See also:

    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 2015–16 tax return. Good records can help you complete your tax return in future years.

    See also:

    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.

    See also:

    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.

      Last modified: 25 Nov 2016QC 46616