Part IVC of the Taxation Administration Act (1953) (TAA Act) sets out the procedures to challenge taxation decisions made under Commonwealth tax legislations. It is under these provisions that a taxpayer (whether an individual or a corporate entity) who is dissatisfied with an assessment (including income tax or GST assessments) is able to object to such tax liabilities and challenge them on the basis that they are excessive or otherwise incorrect.
The first step in challenging an assessment is for the taxpayer to lodge an objection with the ATO. An objection must:
- be made in writing in the approved form;
- lodged with the ATO within the period set out in section 14ZW of the TAA Act (e.g. objections to notices of assessment must usually be made within 4 years from the date the assessment is received by the taxpayer); and
- include the relevant details why the taxpayer believes that the assessment is wrong. This may involve putting forward a combination of accounting and legal arguments supported by legislation and case law to support your objection.
Proceedings under Part IVC
Following receipt of your objections, the Commissioner will make a decision whether or not to allow or partly allow them. If a taxpayer is dissatisfied with the Commissioner’s objection decision, a taxpayer may seek a review of that decision before the Administrative Appeals Tribunal or appeal it before the Federal Court within 60 days of receipt of the notice of the objection decision.
The process of reviewing an objection decision involves several legal hurdles, which are best overcome with a legal team that has a thorough understanding of Australia’s taxation framework. In cases of a tax assessment, the taxpayer has the burden of proving that the assessment is excessive or is otherwise incorrect, and also outlining what the taxpayer believes should have been the correct decision.
Where do we go from here? Our litigation team at Lionheart Lawyers act on behalf of a wide range of taxpayers, from individuals and corporations within complex group structures, and can assist you in all parts of the objection process and proceedings conducted under Pt IVC.