The ATO’s approach to dispute resolution focuses on working with you to avoid or resolve a dispute as early as possible. The law gives you the right to object to some decisions they make about your tax affairs, including most tax assessments. You can also object to some other decisions in relation to income tax, and many decisions about goods and services tax (GST), fringe benefits tax (FBT), luxury car tax, wine equalisation tax, excise, superannuation and the Australian business number (ABN). If you object to a decision, the ATO will conduct an internal review.

You should consider lodging an objection to a decision made by the ATO about your income tax affairs if:

•  you disagree with the way they have interpreted the law, for example, you disagree with an amended assessment that has been given you
•  you are uncertain about your interpretation of the law (for example, you’re not sure whether you should have included some income on your tax return or claimed some expenses)
•  you want the option of seeking an external review if the ATO doesn’t agree with you.

There are some decisions the ATO makes that the law does not allow you to object to but In some cases there are other ways of disputing these decisions.

The law gives you the right to object to tax assessments and some other decisions the ATO makes if you are not satisfied with them. You can also object to some penalties they apply (administrative penalties) but not court-imposed penalties. Time limits for lodging objections vary. In most cases it is at least 60 days from receipt of the related 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 most individuals and small businesses, four years for all other taxpayers). For GST assessments it is four years. If the final lodgment day falls on a non-business day, your objection can be lodged on the next business day.

You are able to object against some decisions concerning:

•  ABN
•  excise
•  FBT
•  fuel schemes (such as the Product stewardship for oil benefit and grants under the Cleaner fuel grants scheme and the Energy grants credits scheme)
•  fuel tax credits
•  GST
•  income tax
•  luxury car tax
•  penalties and interest
•  wine equalisation tax

If you are outside the time limit, you can ask for an extension of time to lodge an objection.

Whenever you are disputing the ATO it is extremely important that you seek the advice of an experienced tax agent or accountant.

Here at The Quinn Group, our experienced team of accountants and tax agents can answer all of your tax related questions and can assist you throughout the entire objection process. For more information on disputes with the ATO submit an online enquiry or call us on 1300 QUINNS (784 667) or on +61 2 9223 9166 to book an appointment.