Once you have lodged your registration or your claim for the R&D tax incentive, you may find that you need to vary your registration details with the Department of Industry, Innovation and Science, amend or vary your claim with us, or that you want to dispute the decisions either we, the Department of Industry, Innovation and Science or Innovation and Science Australia made.
If you need to correct or vary your tax return because you made a mistake or omitted to mention something you later realise you should have mentioned, you can amend your tax return (within certain time limits).
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).
For information about varying your registration details or disputing decisions made by the Department of Industry, Innovation and Science or Innovation and Science Australia, refer to the R&D tax incentive information guide on the Department of Industry, Innovation and Science websiteExternal Link.
'Amendment' is the term we use for a change made to an income tax assessment. If you want us to change your income tax assessment you need to request an amendment in writing.
Amendments are part of the self-assessment system. That is, just as we accept your tax return information at face value, in most cases we do the same with the information you include on your request for an amendment.
Time limits for making amendments
There are time limits for making amendments to your tax return, generally 2 years for small businesses and 4 years for other taxpayers. To give you certainty about your tax affairs, in most circumstances the law does not allow amendments (initiated by us or by you) outside the time limit, but you may be able to lodge an objection instead.
Special rules vary these time frames for certain decisions the Department of Industry, Innovation and Science or Innovation and Science Australia makes about the R&D tax incentive. These special rules allow us to amend outside of the standard timeframes for:
- Innovation and Science Australia giving the Commissioner a Finding, within certain timeframes, about
- activities outside Australia
- core technology
- an internal review decision by
- the Department of Industry, Innovation and Science (for Innovation and Science Australia)
- the Administrative Appeals Tribunal (AAT)
- a court on certain matters.
How to amend your claim
If you wish to amend your claim for the R&D tax incentive, you will need to both:
- complete and lodge an amended R&D tax incentive schedule for the relevant year, showing the amended figures
- write us a letter to go with the amended schedule
- requesting the amendment
- specifying the labels on the company tax return that need amending.
You must then forward your amended R&D tax incentive schedule and the letter requesting the amendment to:
Australian Taxation Office
PO Box 3004
PENRITH NSW 2740
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 2 or 4 years after the lodgment date for the return (2 years for small businesses, 4 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 2 or 4 years from the date the notice of assessment was given to you, depending on what type of taxpayer you are (2 years for small businesses, 4 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
- 4 years from the date the original assessment was given to you (or 2 years for small businesses).
Nil income tax assessments
A 'nil assessment' is an assessment ascertaining that there is either:
- no taxable income
- an amount of taxable income and no tax is payable.
Generally, you can't 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 (that is, 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 our form 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.