If you are dissatisfied with the Commissioner’s decision about your taxation objection, you can ask us to:
- Refer the matter to the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT).
- Treat your objection as an appeal to the Supreme Court of Victoria (the Supreme Court).
Read more about these options and how they differ below.
Your request must be in writing and we must receive it within 60 days after 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 First Home Owner Grant (FHOG) objection, you must follow a different referral process.
Role of VCAT and the Supreme Court
Both VCAT and the Supreme Court are independent bodies that can review your matter and confirm, reduce, increase or vary the Commissioner’s assessment or decision.
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 you obtain the consent of VCAT or the Supreme Court to rely on new grounds.
Similarly, the Commissioner can only rely on the grounds on which your objection was disallowed, unless VCAT or the Supreme Court gives consent for the Commissioner to rely on new grounds.
Request a referral or an appeal
If you decide to ask the Commissioner to either refer your matter to VCAT or treat your objection as an appeal to the Supreme Court, you must lodge your written request with us.
Do not lodge your written request directly with VCAT or the Supreme Court as they have no statutory power to accept a direct application from you.
Your written request must nominate whether you want the Commissioner to refer your matter to VCAT or treat your objection as an appeal to the Supreme Court.
Your written request should 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 receiving your request, we refer your matter as requested and let you know when we have done this.
Referral time limits
We must receive your request for a referral within 60 days after the date the notice of determination of your objection is served on you.
This 60-day time limit is a strict statutory time limit within the Taxation Administration Act 1997 and it cannot be extended by the Commissioner, VCAT or the Supreme Court.
After the Commissioner has referred your matter to VCAT, they will ask you to pay a fee (visit www.vcat.vic.gov.au for more information). VCAT can 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.
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 VCAT for it to review the matter, but your application may not be 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. 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 Supreme Court hearing. You can appear in person or be represented by someone of your choice. 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 only occurs in exceptional circumstances.
Disagreeing with VCAT’s decision
You may be able to seek leave to appeal to the Supreme Court on a question of law. Similarly, the Commissioner may seek leave to appeal to the Supreme Court on a question of law.
If you seek leave to appeal a VCAT decision and are unsuccessful, or successfully seek leave to appeal but lose the 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 Supreme Court may award costs in your favour and against the Commissioner.
Read more about VCAT and some of its taxation decisions via the Australasian Legal Information Institute (AustLII).
Supreme Court costs
The Supreme Court requires a fee from you to start each appeal and there may be other court fees depending on the circumstances of the case. The Supreme Court has more information about its fees.
Unlike matters referred to VCAT, unsuccessful parties, whether yourself or the Commissioner, may have appeal costs awarded against them. You can seek assistance under the Appeal Costs Act 1998 and if you are successful in your appeal, the court may decide that your costs be paid by the Commissioner.
Supreme Court appeal
A Supreme Court hearing is more formal than a VCAT hearing. You can appear in person (individuals only) or be represented by a legal practitioner. You must follow the rules of evidence and other court rules. The court may confirm, reduce, increase, or vary the Commissioner’s assessment or decision.
After the Commissioner has referred your appeal to the Supreme Court, they will provide you with information about the court rules you must follow, including strict timelines. If you have not done so, you are strongly encouraged to consult a lawyer.
Disagreeing with the Supreme Court’s decision
If you are not satisfied with the decision of a single Supreme Court judge, you may have a right to appeal on a question of law to the Court of Appeal. The Commissioner has the same right of appeal. There are cost implications in relation to appealing.
The Supreme Court provides more information and you can read some of its taxation decisions via the Australasian Legal Information Institute (AustLII).
What happens about payment?
If VCAT or the Supreme 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 VCAT or the Supreme Court decides against you and you have an outstanding tax liability, 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.
View current and historical market rates of interest.The premium rate of interest is 8 per cent per year.
Review our payment options.
Alongside the formal processes available to you, we are open to resolving disputes through early and informal negotiations and dispute resolution.