Objecting to our decisions
The law gives you the right to object to some decisions we make about your tax affairs, including most tax assessments. If you are dissatisfied with the amount of R&D tax offset we have allowed you, you can object. You must lodge your objection in writing and within certain time frames. In some circumstances you can also lodge an appeal with the Administrative Appeals Tribunal (AAT) or Federal Court.
Time limits for lodging objections vary depending on whether you are objecting to an original income tax assessment, an amended income tax assessment, or a nil income tax assessment:
In most cases, the time limit is at least 60 days from when you receive the notice and, in the case of income tax assessments, it is two or four years after the lodgment date for the return (two years for small businesses, four years for all other taxpayers). If the final lodgment day falls on a non-business day, your objection can be lodged on the next business day.
Time limits for objecting to original income tax assessments
For income tax assessments you have two or four years from the date the notice of assessment was given to you, depending on what type of taxpayer you are (two years for small businesses, four years for all other taxpayers).
Time limits for objecting to amended income tax assessments
For amended income tax assessments you have until the later of:
- 60 days from the date the amended assessment was given to you, or
- four years from the date the original assessment was given to you (or two years for small businesses).
Nil income tax assessments
A 'nil assessment' is an assessment ascertaining that there is
- no taxable income; or
- an amount of taxable income and no tax is payable.
Generally you cannot object against a 'nil assessment' unless you are seeking to increase your tax liability. However for the 2014 and subsequent income years, you are able to object against the total of your tax offset refunds for a year of income under the normal objection provisions. For the 2013 income year, there is a special rule allowing you to object to a nil income tax assessment if the objection relates to the 43.5% refundable R&D tax offset.
If you wish to dispute the amount of a non-refundable R&D tax offset to be carried forward (ie where you have a nil assessment), you have to wait until you have an assessment for the year in which any part of the non-refundable R&D tax offset carried forward is first applied.
How to lodge an objection
Your objection must be lodged in writing. You can either use the form we provide or write a letter. Either way, your objection must be lodged within the time limit. You can fax your objection to us, post it, hand deliver it to a shopfront, or have your tax agent lodge it online. There is no fee for lodging an objection.
If you are dissatisfied with the outcome of your objection, you can seek an external review of the decision by lodging an appeal with the AAT or Federal Court.
How to lodge an appeal
Tax laws specifically give you the right to go to the Administrative Appeals Tribunal (AAT) or the Federal Court of Australia for a review of some of our actions or decisions about your tax affairs. Generally you have to lodge an objection and be dissatisfied with the outcome before you can seek an external review. Certain time limits apply.
If you want to dispute the law as we have applied it to your case or if you are dissatisfied with the amount of R&D tax offset we have allowed, you can object to your assessment (within certain time limits).