First Home Owner Grant (FHOG) appeals
If you are dissatisfied with the Commissioner’s decision about your First Home Owner Grant (FHOG) objection, or if we do not make a determination within 90 days of receiving your objection (not including any period of suspension), you can request that the matter is referred to the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT).
Your request must be in writing and we must receive it within 60 days of the date that the notice of determination of your objection is served on you. There is no discretion for this time period to be extended.
Note: If you are dissatisfied with the Commissioner's decision about your taxation objection, you must follow a different appeal process.
VCAT is an independent body that can review your matter and confirm or vary the Commissioner’s decision on the FHOG application.
The onus of proving your case is on you and you can do this through your own evidence, evidence from other people and from documents supporting your case.
In presenting your case, you can only rely on the grounds set out in your objection unless VCAT consents to rely on new grounds.
Similarly, the Commissioner can only rely on the grounds on which your objection was disallowed unless VCAT consents for you to rely on new grounds.
Request a referral
If you decide to ask the Commissioner to refer your matter to VCAT, you must lodge your written request with us.
Do not lodge your written request directly with VCAT as it has no statutory power to accept an application directly from you.
Your written request can 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 refer your matter to VCAT and let you know when we have done this.
We must receive your request for a referral 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 First Home Owner Act 2000 and cannot be extended by the Commissioner or VCAT.
After the Commissioner has referred your matter to VCAT, it will ask you to pay a fee.
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 hearing day or part of a day. Visit VCAT for information about the fee structure.
If the application fee is not paid or waived, VCAT can 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 is not automatically granted.
You and the Commissioner each bear your own costs of a VCAT 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.
In most instances, a VCAT hearing is less formal than a court hearing. You can appear in person or be represented by someone you choose.
If you want to be represented by someone other than a professional advocate, you need VCAT's permission. Your hearing will be held in public, unless VCAT agrees it can be held in private, which is only permitted in exceptional circumstances.
Disagreeing with VCAT's decision
You and the Commissioner may be able to seek leave to appeal to the Supreme Court of Victoria on a question of law.
If you seek leave to appeal and you are unsuccessful, or successfully seek leave to appeal but lose your appeal, costs may be awarded against you. If so, you can seek assistance under the Appeal Costs Act 1998.
If your appeal is successful, the Court can award costs in your favour and against the Commissioner.
Read more about VCAT and its fees and some of its FHOG decisions at Australasian Legal Information Institute (AustLII).
Decisions against you
If VCAT decides against you and you have an outstanding FHOG liability, including the amount of the FHOG required to be repaid and any penalty imposed, 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.
View the current and historical market rates of interest. The premium rate of interest is 8 per cent per annum.
Find out about payment options.
Alongside the formal processes available to you, we are open to resolving disputes through early and informal negotiations and dispute resolution.