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Reassessment when review pending?


When a taxpayer is assessed to a taxation liability, the taxation administrator normally has power to amend the assessment by making a reassessment. Likewise, the taxpayer normally has rights of objection, review and appeal in respect of an assessment or reassessment. There is, however, a question of whether the administrator may make a reassessment with regard to an assessment which is the subject of a pending review or appeal proceeding, when the legislation does not expressly permit or preclude reassessment in that circumstance.

It seems likely that, under the current revenue legislation of every Australian jurisdiction (except Queensland, which makes specific provision), whether or not reassessment by the administrator as of right is permissible while a review is pending is a live issue. There are authorities supporting both views. This article sets out and describes relevant legislative provisions, and then outlines and analyses the reasons supporting the opposed views.

Author profile

Dr Holger Sorensen
Dr Sorensen is a Sydney barrister practising in revenue law from Ground Floor Wentworth Chambers, and is also an Adjunct Professor, Faculty of Law, University of Technology, Sydney. Prior to commencing practice in Sydney in 1984, he was Senior Solicitor (Investigations), Special Prosecutor's Office, Sydney involved in investigation of the 'bottom-of-the-harbour' tax schemes. He formerly practised as a partner in a Melbourne commercial law firm, a Crown Counsel (Crown Law Office, New Zealand), and solicitor (New Zealand Inland Revenue Department (Tax Office)). He is a contributor of articles published in Taxation in Australia, Law Society Journal and Australian Tax Review, and, since 1990, has taught post-graduate courses at the University of Technology, Sydney. His PhD (in tax law) was conferred by the University of Melbourne. - Current at 01 February 2015
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