How to Object to Undue ATO Taxation


“In this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes.”

Ever since Benjamin Franklin hit the nail on the head with that witticism in 1789, it’s been one of the most commonly-cited quips regarding taxes around the world. That being said, for as insightful and funny as Franklin’s quote may be, there are a wide range of reasons that you might legitimately have an objection to what you’re being asked to pay in taxes. While Franklin’s quote humorously puts taxes on par with death as something unchanging and inevitable, tax systems are designed and maintained by human beings who are, after all, fallible. The Australia Taxation Office (ATO) is no exception. If, as an individual or a company, you feel there has been an error in the taxation levied towards yourself or your business, you can protest the decision via a formally-lodged complaint.

Here’s a quick look at what an ATO objection letter is, how it works, and the scenarios under which you may want to consider submitting one.

ATO 101

First thing’s first – what is the ATO, and how does it work? At first blush, one would think this would be obvious, that the ATO is simply what it says on the tin – a taxation office. That being said, there are a lot of permutations to tax law, and there are areas in which it merges with other legal realms. For example, if you have done business internationally, you may have to consider declaring items via customs in your reports. Whether you are filing as an individual or a company can also have a major impact on what you have to pay. You’ll want to look online to governmental or private legal and taxation experts to ensure that you’re following the steps correctly.

Situations in Which You Might Wish to Object

Let’s assume you have done all of that, and you are still unsure as to whether your case merits a review. The ATO itself offers a list of situations under which you may wish to object to a tax ruling, including:

  • You take issue with the manner in which the ATO has interpreted part of the law with respect to a decision concerning your taxation
  • You are yourself uncertain as to the interpretation of the law at work with respect to your taxes
  • You wish to obtain an external review
  • A decision has been made to retain a refund

Submitting Your Letter of Protest

So, you’ve read through the aforementioned reasons and have decided that one or more fit your case. If so, you’ll want to seek help from tax lawyers and online tax law resources. Both of these can supply you with an ATO objection letter example, which you and your legal team can use as the template for writing your own official objection to the ATO.

You don’t have to accept tax oversight or undue taxation as inevitable and impossible to change. With a well-crafted ATO objection letter in hand and the advice of skilled tax law experts, you’ll be well on your way to contesting undue taxation.