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Information about assessments including how assessments are worked out.

Last updated 30 March 2020

The Commissioner of Taxation may at any time make an assessment of an assessable amount. A net amount, net fuel amount, other indirect tax amount or a credit under an indirect tax law is an assessable amount.

For tax periods commencing on or after 1 July 2012, we are treated as having made an assessment of your assessable amount – for example, the net amount for the tax period, on the day you lodge your activity statement, worked out in line with the information stated in your activity statement.

Under self-assessment, your activity statement is treated as being a notice of assessment issued on the day the activity statement is given to us. No other notice of assessment will be issued.

Your assessed net amount and assessed net fuel amount are worked out in accordance with the information you provide at the following labels on your activity statement:

  • Assessed net amount: [label 1A (GST on sales) + label 1C (WET payable) + label 1E (LCT payable)] - [label 1B (GST on purchases) + label 1D (WET refundable) + label 1F (LCT refundable)].        
    • If you are a GST instalment payer, the total GST instalments paid by you (label 1H) are taken into account in working out your assessed net amount.
    • Where you do not have WET or LCT obligations, some labels may not be included on your activity statement.
  • Assessed net fuel amount: label 7C (fuel tax credit over claim) – label 7D (fuel tax credit).

In making an assessment, we may treat part of a tax period as the whole tax period. This power is equivalent to our power to make special assessments under the Income Tax Assessment Act 1936.

There can only ever be one assessment made for a particular tax period because any subsequent activity statements or changes to the activity statement lodged for that period may only give rise to an amended assessment.

If you do not lodge your activity statement when required, we may still make an assessment of your assessable amount based on information available to us.

Example: Making an assessment from 1 July 2012

Lorenzo runs a furniture shop and is registered for GST. On 28 October 2013, Lorenzo lodges his activity statement for the tax period ending 30 September 2013. Lorenzo's net amount for that tax period is treated as assessed on 28 October 2013, and the activity statement is treated as being a notice of assessment given by us on that date.

End of example

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We are similarly treated as having made an assessment of GST, LCT or WET payable on a taxable importation or customs dealings and have served a notice of assessment where:

  • an import declaration or self-assessed clearance declaration was received by Customs
  • Customs has provided an import declaration advice or self-assessed clearance declaration advice.

The two documents together – the declaration given to Customs, and the advice issued by Customs – are treated as being a notice of assessment. The assessment is made and the notice of assessment is given on the date Customs issues the advice.

Assessments where we will issue a notice of assessment

In certain circumstances, when you lodge a return we will make an assessment and issue a notice of assessment. This applies to a limited number of taxpayers, including:

  • non-business taxpayers claiming fuel tax credits or WET credits
  • taxpayers who are not registered nor required to be registered for GST with liabilities under Divisions 78 (insurance) and 105 (supplies in satisfaction of debt) of the GST Act
  • taxpayers who provide some documents to Customs for liabilities arising on taxable importations.

Non-business taxpayer's fuel tax credits – domestic electricity and non-profit emergency vehicles

We will continue to assess your claim for fuel tax credits if you:

  • claim fuel tax credits for fuel you use to generate electricity for domestic use
  • are a non-profit organisation that is not required to be registered for GST, and you claim fuel tax credits for the fuel you use in your emergency service vehicles or vessels.

We will continue to send you a notice for the assessment.

In these situations, where you have lodged a return and not received a notice of assessment within six months of lodging the return, you may ask us to issue a notice of assessment. If no notice of assessment is served within a further 30 days of the request, you may object against our failure to make an assessment.

Note: This provision only applies to you if self-assessment does not treat your lodged return as a notice of assessment and where a notice of assessment has never been issued. It does not apply to applications for an amendment made using a revised activity statement.

Example: Requesting a notice of assessment

Melina is not registered for GST, but is eligible to claim fuel tax credits. On 14 October 2012, Melina lodges a return claiming fuel tax credits for the fuel tax return period ending 14 October 2012.

Melina has not received a notice of assessment by 14 April 2015, so on 15 April 2015 Melina writes to us requesting an assessment of her net fuel amount. If by 15 May 2015 a notice of assessment has still not been issued, then Melina may object to the Commissioner's failure to make an assessment.