As a default, the information that you provide to the ATO is said to be true and correct, but if there is reason to believe that this isn’t the case, the ATO can conduct a further review. In certain circumstances, they will also have the power to increase or decrease your tax payable and even issue penalties and interest. However, in response, you can file an official objection.
When objecting to an ATO decision, there is a process, but there are resources out there to help you do this correctly. You will be dealing with time limitations, and you will have other requirements that need to be met, so it’s important that you do your research.
What Decisions Can You Object to?
There are a handful of decisions that you can object to, some of which may be unique to your situation, but there are some common scenarios.
For example, when the ATO decides to issue penalties or interest, you can object to this decision. Objections are commonly for shortfall penalties, but you could also be penalised for failing to provide a document. Among others, you can also object to all of the following:
- ABN decisions
- Fringe benefits tax
- Fuel schemes
- Goods and services tax
- Income tax decisions
Objections Must Be Written
Objections must be lodged in writing, and you can either use an ATO form or write a letter yourself. It helps to look at an ATO objection letter example so that you have an idea of what you are supposed to be doing and you can get all of the formatting correct. Since you might be very limited on time, it’s important to use the resources at your disposal so that you get the objection correct the first time around.
What to Include in the Letter
The ATO will expect a number of things to be included in your objection letter, namely your full details including the TFN or ABN. You will also need to include all of the details about what you are objecting to, as well as the reasoning behind the objection.
Include any relevant facts, arguments, documentation, and general information that might help your case. If you have supporting documentation, you should reaffirm that the information is correct and true, and finally, you will want to make sure that you sign and date the letter.
Once the letter has been submitted, it may take some time for the ATO to read, review, and make a decision regarding the objection.
What Cannot Be Objected?
Keep in mind, there are some things that you will not be able to object to. For example, you cannot object to a decision not to remit certain penalties or interest charges. In general, you cannot object to general interest charges, shortfall interest charges, or late payment penalties, but you can request to remit these charges.
By exploring the different resources or getting in touch with an expert, you can continue to learn about objection letters, as well as when and how to submit them.