About this document
Our commitment to you
The information in this publication is current at July 2004.
In the taxpayers' charter we commit to giving you information and advice you can rely on.
If you try to follow the information contained in our written general advice and publications, and in doing so you make an honest mistake, you won't be subject to a penalty. However, as well as the underpaid tax, we may ask you to pay a general interest charge.
We make every effort to ensure that this information and advice is accurate. If you follow our advice, which subsequently turns out to be incorrect, or our advice is misleading and you make a mistake as a result, you won't be subject to a penalty or a general interest charge although you'll be required to pay any underpaid tax.
You are protected under GST law if you have acted on any GST information in this publication. If you have relied on GST advice in this Tax Office publication and that advice has later changed, you will not have to pay any extra GST for the period up to the date of the change. Similarly, you will not have to pay any penalties or interest.
If you feel this publication does not fully cover your circumstances, please seek help from the Tax Office or a professional adviser.
How self-assessment affects most individuals
Self-assessment means the Tax Office uses the information you give in your tax return to work out your refund or tax debt. You are required by law to make sure you have shown all your assessable income and claimed only the deductions and rebates to which you are entitled.
What are your responsibilities?
Even if someone else - including a tax agent - helps you to prepare your tax return, you are still legally responsible for the accuracy of the information.
What if you lodge an incorrect tax return?
Our computers continually check for missing or wrong information. We have audit programs designed to detect where taxpayers have not declared all of their assessable income or where they have incorrectly claimed deductions or rebates. If you become aware that your tax return is incorrect, you must contact us straight away.
Initiatives to complement self-assessment
There are a number of initiatives administered by the Tax Office which complement self-assessment. Examples include:
- the process for applying for a private ruling
- your entitlement to interest on early payment - or overpayment - of a tax debt
- the process for applying for an amendment if you find you left something out of your tax return.
Do you need to ask for a private ruling?
If you have a concern about the way tax law applies to your personal tax affairs, you may want to ask for a private ruling. A private ruling will relate just to your situation. Write to the Tax Office describing your situation in detail and ask for advice. Include your tax file number. If you lodge your tax return before you receive your private ruling, be aware that the ruling may alter the accuracy of your return.
You can ask for a review of a private ruling decision if you disagree with it, even if you have not received your assessment. The tax office that made the ruling can give you more information about review procedures.