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  • Period of review

    For tax periods and fuel tax return periods commencing on or after 1 July 2012, a four-year period of review applies where we may amend an assessment for GST, LCT, WET or fuel tax credit amounts on the activity statement or claim form for a fuel tax return period.

    The period of review starts on the day on which we first give notice of the assessment. In most cases, this will be the same day you lodge your activity statement. The period of review ends four years from the day after the notice of assessment is given.

    After the period of review ends, an amendment will only be made by us in limited circumstances:

    • to give effect to an application already received
    • where an assessment has been disputed
    • where there is fraud or evasion.

    The period of review to amend an assessment replaces the four-year time limits for the recovery of unpaid amounts and the entitlement to unclaimed refunds that apply to tax periods and fuel tax return periods commencing before 1 July 2012.

    Example: Applying for an amendment during the period of review

    Esmeralda runs a jewellery store and is registered for GST. She lodges an activity statement for the tax period ending 30 September 2012 on 28 October 2012. Her four-year period of review starts on 28 October 2012 and ends on 29 October 2016.

    Esmeralda applies for an amendment on 14 May 2013, which is within the period of review.

    End of example

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    Refreshed period of review

    An assessment that is amended during the period of review is subject to a refreshed four-year period of review, but only for the particular that has been amended. It does not open the entire activity statement to a further four-year period of review.

    For each particular, there is only one refreshed period of review and only one further amendment allowed within the refreshed period of review. If different particulars are amended in the period of review, a separate refreshed period of review applies for each.

    It is important for you to keep track of your amendments so you can identify whether you are able to apply for any further amendments for a relevant tax period. The refreshed period of review cannot be extended.

    Example: Refreshed period of review

    Jeanette operates a shoe shop and is registered for GST. On 28 October 2012, she lodges a GST return for the tax period ending 30 September 2012.

    On 14 October 2016 Jeanette applies to us for an amendment to claim GST credits on two tax invoices (A and B) of $100 each. Although these GST credits relate to the tax period ending 30 September 2012, she has misplaced the invoices and has not attributed the GST credits to any later tax period. On 25 October 2016, we amend the assessment to allow the GST credits on both invoices.

    On 30 October 2016 (during the refreshed period of review) we review Jeanette's assessment and disallow the credits in relation to invoice B. As one amendment in relation to the credits on invoice B has now been made during the refreshed period of review, we cannot make any more amendments to the credits in relation to invoice B. However, the credits in relation to invoice A may still be amended once before the refreshed period of review ends on 26 October 2020, either at Jeanette's request or by us.

    End of example

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    Identifying an amended particular

    An amended particular will increase or decrease the assessable amount. It could be about a single sale or a single purchase.

    A particular is included in the calculation of your assessed amount, and is a specific item that will affect the total amount of:

    • GST payable for sales
    • GST credits or fuel tax credits for purchases
    • increasing or decreasing adjustments (including fuel tax adjustments)
    • luxury car tax payable or adjustments for luxury car tax
    • wine tax payable or wine tax credits.

    Example: Further amendment to a particular

    XYZ Enterprises includes GST on the taxable sale of nails ($100 GST payable) and on a taxable sale of wood ($200 GST payable) in the same tax period. XYZ Enterprises lodges its GST return for that tax period but due to an accounting error, forgets to include the GST payable on the sale of the wood in this (or any other) GST return.

    During the period of review, XYZ Enterprises identifies this error. XYZ Enterprises asks the Commissioner to amend its assessment to reflect the GST payable, but gives an incorrect amount of $300 (instead of $200). The Commissioner issues a notice of amended assessment (the earlier amendment) to include the omitted $300 of GST payable on the wood (however this amount is still wrong).

    XYZ Enterprises can make a further amendment in relation to the sale of wood to reduce GST payable by $100, after the period of review expires in the refreshed period of review.

    XYZ Enterprises then discovers after the period of review expires that it did not make a sale of nails, but mistakenly included GST in its GST return for that tax period.

    As this overpayment of GST is a separate particular (not the sale of wood), and it was not amended during the period of review, there is no refreshed period of review for this particular and XYZ Enterprises cannot make a later amendment for the nails.

    The application of Division 142 of the A New Tax System (Goods and Services Tax) Act 1999, which is about refunds of excess GST, has not been considered in this example.

    End of example

    Amendments outside the period of review

    We may still make an amendment after the period of review has ended, if you apply for a private ruling, or request an amendment within the period of review. This means that where we have not processed your amendment or private ruling application before the end of the period of review, we are still able to make the amendment or give effect to the ruling after the period ends.

    Where we advise you to seek an amendment, and you choose not to apply for one, the usual time limits apply. If you choose to apply for an amendment, this does not extend the period of review.

    We may also make an amendment at any time:

    • to give effect to anti-avoidance declarations
    • to give effect to a decision relating to objections, reviews or appeals
    • where there is fraud or evasion.

    Extension of period of review

    Where we have started an examination of your affairs and have not completed the examination before the end of the period of review, the period of review may be extended for a specified period by the Commissioner:

    • applying to the Federal Court before the period of review ends, for an order to extend the period
    • requesting your consent, before the period of review ends, and you consent in writing to that request.

    The period of review may be extended more than once, provided an application or request is made within the extended period of review.

    Example: Extending the period of review

    Connie and Karen are partners in a GST-registered partnership which has complex tax affairs. We are examining an activity statement of the partnership that was lodged almost four years ago. As part of our examination, we are reviewing different amounts on the partnership's activity statement, making a number of detailed enquiries about the partnership's affairs, and have made several requests for information. These are all taking the partnership some time to complete.

    We become aware that our examination of the partnership's affairs is unlikely to be completed before the end of the period of review for the assessment of the relevant activity statement. We contact Connie and Karen and request a three-month extension. After consulting with their tax advisers, Connie and Karen agree to the extension in writing. This consent will extend the four-year period of review by three months.

    If we have not completed the examination of the partnership's affairs within this extra period of time, but we are still within the period of review, we may request a further extension of time from Connie and Karen, or we can apply to the Federal Court for an order for an extension of time to the period of review.

    End of example

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      Last modified: 19 Jul 2019QC 25975