Business concepts,Men wearing suits are using a pen pointing on

5 steps to a successful tax objection

If you came here just to get a template or sample tax objection form to use – click here.

If you are interested in learning more about the process and how to do an objection, please read on.

If the ATO has made a decision you are unhappy with, you may have the right to object.  It will generally tell you so on the letter.

If you are planning to object, here are some tips I’ve picked up over the years:

1.  Get the facts

Read their decision again and underline the factual points they make that are wrong and make a note of these.  The facts are the easiest points to prove are wrong.  For example, they might say you were working 5 days a week when in fact you only work 3 days.  Keep a list of these facts.

2.  Consider the implications of these facts

Think about the tax outcome from the facts being incorrect.  For example, if they say you made sales you didn’t, then obviously that will mean you have a lower tax bill.  However, if they say you made less sales than you actually did, then you will essentially be saying they under-taxed you.  Think through the ramifications of the facts that are wrong.

Also consider their relevance.  Sometimes bringing up errors that are inconsequential can hurt your case because the objection officer will quickly form the view that, whilst there may have been factual errors, none of them affect the outcome.  List the facts in order of relevance to the outcome.  If you have a list of other grievances you want to raise, feel free to raise those but do so in the end and make sure you set out a reason for doing so – for example, you may say the auditor did not take the time to consider all the facts which is demonstrated by the behavior you are raising.  Keep it relevant.

3. Remember how you got here & remember your audience

Its easy to blame the auditor (or the original decision maker) as a bad egg and that they didn’t understand you, just got it wrong or perhaps they were a terrible person. 

Whilst there might be merit in this view, at the end of the day you are still dealing with the same organization – the ATO.  The objections officer will be inclined to side with the auditor who is from the same organization rather than you.  Its nothing personal against you, its just they don’t know you at all so will be more inclined to follow the viewpoint of one of their colleagues than yours.

As such, think about what it was specifically that occurred during the audit process or de-railed the original decision and make sure that doesn’t happen again.

4. Consider your strategy

You won’t know initially where this is going to end up.  If you are unhappy with the objection officer’s decision you will need to go to Court or the Tribunal.  Ideally you should set it up for a Tribunal hearing because that will put pressure on the objections officer to consider the matter more carefully.

The best way to do this is to have an overall strategy.  The objective of the strategy is to get the outcome you want, whether it is a lower tax bill or overturning an unfavourable decision.  Think about what the elements are that are necessary to achieve this strategy. 

Don’t make it easy for them to reject you.

5. Include all your grounds

As a technical rule you need to include all the grounds of your objection.  To do this you will need to identify the key issues that make up your argument.

Steps 1 – 4 should help you do this. 

This website does have a tax objection template you can use which serves as a good example of how to set out an objection. 

Alternatively, we would be happy to help or discuss with you if you would like.  Please feel free to call me on my direct line 02 7200 8201 or email me personally at adam@adamahmed.com.au

Business, career and placement concept - satisfied director man

Director penalty notice defences – a how to guide

Have you received a director penalty notice? This is a standard letter for the ATO but it carries some serious implications for you.  You need to act quickly. First, the context.  The ATO is pursuing you because a company that you are or were the director of owes some money.  The ATO probably issued the [...]

Man sitting on stairs at home and writing in notepad

ATO objection letter – how to do them

Did you get a terrible result from an audit? You know deep down if the auditor got it wrong.  If they did, you can still get it fixed.  You're the one who has to cop the tax debt - the auditor just moves on with their life - you're the one who will keep getting [...]

Business concepts,Men wearing suits are using a pen pointing on

Tax office dirty tricks revealed

If you are in litigation with the ATO, expect them to use dirty tricks on you. Below is a list of the dirty tricks that I have personally seen used on my clients: Muddying the issue – when you appeal the ATO will sometimes “defend” a claim you did not make, thereby muddying the issue [...]

Las Vegas and Trump Tower

How Donald Trump’s tax plan is already creating jobs in the US – the perspective of an international tax lawyer from Australia

There is no doubt in my mind that the Trump tax plan, specifically the reduction in the corporate tax rate from 35% to 21%, will new create jobs in the US. I know this because I already have clients and fellow tax lawyers in the US talking to me about making this happen. Let me [...]

Can I claim the export market development grant (EMDG)?

What is it? It helps you pay for your marketing costs when selling your products overseas by reimbursing you (up to 50%) for amounts you spend on promoting your products and services for export (except to New Zealand and North Korea) Most products and services where the intended buyer is a foreigner will qualify, so [...]

Tax Credits Claim Return Deduction Refund Concept

Tax audit review success stories

The very words ‘tax audit’ strike fear into many people. But audits aren’t always a bad thing. In fact, sometimes they can work in your favour. To illustrate this, here’s some real life success stories: A client was audited for GST. After some back and forth with the tax office, it turned out they had [...]

Business team is analyzing graphs on the desk.

The 6 stages of dealing with ATO audits

It’s a phone call many of us dread. The ATO is on the line informing you they’ve decided to audit you. The panic sets in and you lose all sense of rational thought. But just stop and breathe. The chances you’ve done something truly wrong are minimal. Even if you have made a mistake, the [...]

How to reduce your tax by investing in start ups

If you’re an investor or a start-up looking for an investor, you may have heard that the government has introduced a new tax break for investors investing in start-ups. The way it works is fairly straightforward:  invest is a qualifying start-up (the technical term is “Early Stage Investment Company or ESIC”) and get a tax [...]

0
X