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The Administrative Appeals Tribunal has dismissed a taxpayer’s application for review, on the ground that, since no reviewable decision had been identified by the taxpayer, the Tribunal had no jurisdiction to consider the application: Re Matthews and FCT [2013] AATA 435 (F J Alpins, Deputy President, 26 June 2013).

The Commissioner had “re-raised” a tax debt of $45,993.31 said to be owing by the taxpayer. While the Commissioner had previously decided not to pursue recovery of the debt, on the basis that it was considered that it was not economical to do so, the Commissioner now considered recovery to be viable and sought to recover that amount.

The taxpayer was informed that, as a result of the re-raising of the debt, there was therefore currently a debit balance in the integrated client account, comprising PAYG instalments, GIC and GST. The taxpayer was told that he must either pay that amount in full or apply for a payment arrangement.

Following some complaints and further correspondence, the Commissioner wrote to the taxpayer, agreeing to remit accrued GIC and interest, but leaving an amount still outstanding. The taxpayer applied to the Tribunal for review, and identified the Commissioner’s letter as conveying the decision subject to review.

The Tribunal noted that, in order for there to be a decision reviewable by the Tribunal, it is necessary be able to point to a taxation decision, a taxation objection and then an objection decision within the terms of Pt IVC TAA 1953. In order for Pt IVC to apply, there must be a taxation decision against which an objection might be brought under an enactment (s 14ZL(1)).

It would not have been possible for the taxpayer to object to his liability to PAYG instalments when that liability arose. Further, the re-raising of the debt by the Commissioner could not be the subject of an objection. That also did not constitute a taxation decision within the terms of Pt IVC. Finally, the Commissioner’s letter did not constitute an objection decision capable of review by the Tribunal. Rather, it was essentially a response to a complaint, which also served to inform the taxpayer about the Commissioner’s subsequent favourable change of position about the outstanding debt.

For these reasons, it was not possible to identify a decision capable of review by the Tribunal.

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