Whether you’re a business or individual, you’ve inevitably had to deal with the ATO at some stage. It is also probable that you’ve had a decision regarding a tax matter that you’re not entirely happy with. Well, fear not, most ATO decisions are reviewable and you can lodge an objection to an ATO decision provided it is within certain time limits. The time limits vary depending on what type of decision you’re objecting to ranging from 60 days to 4 years. So, if there’s a decision that you’re unhappy with it is sensible to object as soon as possible.
Has the ATO made a decision in relation to a tax matter that you don’t think is right or you’re not happy with? Remember, ATO decisions are reviewable and you can object to most decisions they make on matters, however, time limits do apply depending on the type of decision you’re objecting to, ranging from 60 days to 4 years, so you’ll need to get in quick for some issues.
Generally, time limits start from the date the assessment or notice of decision was given, and is taken to be the date the assessment, notice, ruling, demand, decision or other correspondence was delivered to you or your representative (ie tax professional) in the usual course of the post. Where the final lodgment day for the objection falls on a non-business day (ie weekend or public holidays), the objection can be lodged the next business day.
Perhaps the most common type of objection is in relation to income tax, if you’re an individual or small business objecting to an assessment of income tax, you will have 2 years from the date the assessment was given to you.
A time limit of 4 years applies to all other taxpayers in relation to income tax assessments. GST assessments have a similar objection time limit, for assessments relating to tax periods that started on or after 1 July 2012, taxpayers will have 4 years and 1 day from the date the assessment was given.
If you’re objecting to an ATO decision to retain a GST refund, you objection period starts 75 days after you lodge your activity statement and any additional information requested by the ATO that require time to respond to will extend the objection period. The objection period ends when you receive an amended assessment. If you’re not happy with the amended assessment, you will have the later of 60 days from the date of the amended assessment was given or 4 years after the original assessment was given.
The objection period is noticeably shorter for the government’s COVID-19 economic stimulus measures including the cash flow boost, JobKeeper payment, and JobMaker hiring credit, so taxpayers will need to be on the ball and object as soon as possible if they think a decision is wrong.
In relation to the cash flow boost, if you would like to object to decisions that you’re not entitled or about the amount of cash flow boost you’re entitled to, you will only have 60 days from the date the decision was made. Similarly, the JobKeeper and JobMaker also has a 60 day limit in relation to most decisions including decisions relating to not giving relief from repaying overpaid amounts and record-keeping requirements.
However, in relation to JobKeeper in particular, the ATO notes that a decision not to grant a lodgment deferral of a JobKeeper enrolment form to allow a late enrolment for JobKeeper is not a decision about an entitlement to a JobKeeper payment for a period. Therefore, if you would like to object to a decision not to grant a lodgment deferral of a JobKeeper enrolment form, you will need to request a review through the Federal Court within 28 days of the deferral decision.