If you are dissatisfied with the Commissioner’s decision about your taxation objection, you have two options. You may ask us to:
- Refer the matter to the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (the Tribunal)
- Treat your objection as an appeal and cause it to be set down for hearing by the Supreme Court of Victoria (the Court)
You can read more about these options and how they differ below.
Your request must be in writing and we must receive it within 60 days of the date the notice of determination of your objection is served on you.
It is important that you are aware that there is no discretion for this time period to be extended.
Note: if you are dissatisfied with the Commissioner's decision about your First Home Owner Grant (FHOG) objection, you must follow a different appeal process.
Role of the Tribunal and Court
The Tribunal and Court are independent bodies that can review your matter and may confirm, reduce, increase or vary the Commissioner’s assessment or decision.
The onus of proving your case at the Tribunal or Court is on you. You may do this through your own evidence, evidence from other people and from documents that support your case.
In presenting your case to the Tribunal or Court, you can only rely on the grounds set out in your objection, unless you obtain the Tribunal’s or Court’s consent to rely on new grounds.
Similarly, the Commissioner can only rely on the grounds on which he disallowed your objection, unless he obtains the Tribunal’s or Court’s consent to rely on new grounds.
Request a referral or an appeal
If you decide to ask the Commissioner to either refer your matter to the Tribunal or treat your objection as an appeal and cause it to be set down for hearing by the Court, you must lodge your written request with us.
Do not lodge your written request directly with the Tribunal or Court. They have no statutory power to accept an application directly from you.
Your written request must nominate whether you want the Commissioner to refer your matter to the Tribunal or to treat your objection as an appeal and cause it to be set down for hearing by the Court.
Your written request may be addressed to the attention of the delegate of the Commissioner whose details are set out in the notice of determination of your objection.
After we receive your request, we will either refer your matter to the Tribunal or cause the appeal to be set down for hearing by the Court, as requested, and let you know when we have done this.
Referral time limits
We must receive your request for a referral to the Tribunal or cause the appeal to be set down for hearing by the Court within 60 days of the date the notice of determination of your objection is served on you.
This 60-day time limit is a strict statutory time limit set out in the Taxation Administration Act 1997. It cannot be extended by the Commissioner, the Tribunal, or the Court.
After the Commissioner has referred your matter to the Tribunal, the Tribunal will ask you to pay a fee. Please visit www.vcat.vic.gov.au for information about the fee structure. The Tribunal may waive this fee if payment would cause you financial hardship. If your matter takes more than one day to hear, you may also be required to pay a fee for each subsequent day or part of a day of the hearing.
If the application fee is not paid or waived, the Tribunal may refuse to review the matter. If you pay the fee later, you can then apply to the Tribunal for it to review the matter, but your application may not be automatically granted.
You and the Commissioner each bear your own costs of the Tribunal proceeding. This means that if you choose to be legally represented, you have to pay these costs, even if your application is successful. Similarly, you will not have to pay the Commissioner’s costs if he is successful.
What happens at the hearing?
A Tribunal hearing, in most instances, is less formal than a Court hearing. You can appear in person or be represented by someone you choose. If you wish to be represented by someone other than a professional advocate (e.g. a family friend), you need the Tribunal’s permission. Your hearing will be held in public, unless the Tribunal agrees it can be held in private. Private hearings are only permitted in exceptional circumstances.
Disagreeing with the Tribunal’s decision
You may be able to seek leave to appeal to the Court on a question of law. Similarly, the Commissioner may seek leave to appeal to the Court on a question of law.
If you seek leave to appeal from a Tribunal decision and are unsuccessful, or successfully seek leave but lose your appeal, you may have costs awarded against you. If so, you may seek assistance under the Appeal Costs Act 1998.
If your appeal is successful, the Court may award costs in your favour and against the Commissioner.
You can read more about fees or the Tribunal at its website.
You can read about some of the Tribunal’s decisions in taxation matters from the Australasian Legal Information Institute (AustLII).
The Court will require a fee from you to commence each appeal. There may be other Court fees, but this will depend on the circumstances of the case. Please visit www.supremecourt.vic.gov.au for further information about the fee structure.
Unlike matters referred to the Tribunal, unsuccessful parties may have costs of the appeal awarded against them, whether that is yourself or the Commissioner. You may seek assistance under the Appeal Costs Act 1998. If you are successful in your appeal, the Court may decide that your costs should be paid by the Commissioner.
A Court hearing is more formal than a Tribunal hearing. You can appear in person (individuals only) or be represented by a legal practitioner. You must follow the rules of evidence and other rules of the Court. The Court may confirm, reduce, increase, or vary the Commissioner’s assessment or decision.
After the Commissioner has caused your appeal to be set down for hearing by the Court, the Court will write to you drawing attention to the detailed Court rules you must follow, including strict timelines. If you have not done so already, you are strongly encouraged to consult a legal practitioner.
If you are not satisfied with the decision of a single judge of the Court, you may have a right to appeal further to the Court of Appeal on a question of law. The Commissioner has the same right to appeal. There are cost implications upon such an appeal being made.
For further information about the Court, please refer to its website.
You can read some of the Court’s decisions in taxation matters from the Australasian Legal Information Institute (AustLII).
What happens about payment?
If the Tribunal or Court decides in your favour, any refund due will be paid to you with interest calculated at the market rate on a daily basis. Interest is calculated from the later of the date of payment of the amount by you or the date on which the Commissioner made the assessment to which the review or appeal relates until the date of the refund.
If the Tribunal or Court decides against you, and you have a tax liability outstanding (including primary tax and penalty tax), you are still liable to pay interest on any unpaid amount. Interest is calculated on a daily basis from the last day for payment until the day payment is made. The interest rate applied is the sum of the market rate and the premium rate.
The current and historical market rates of interest are available on our website.
The premium rate of interest is 8 per cent per annum.
Your payment options are available on our website.