Taxation Administration Act 1997
In Victoria, a range of state taxes are administered by the Commissioner of State Revenue – through the State Revenue Office – under the Taxation Administration Act 1997.
A taxpayer who is unhappy with the Commissioner's determination of their objection about an assessment or other decision may request that the Commissioner refer the matter to VCAT.
Referrals can be about:
- commercial passenger vehicle service levies that must be paid by commercial passenger vehicle service providers (taxi and hire trips, including ride share) under Part 11 of the Commercial Passenger Vehicle Industry Act 2017
- congestion levies on owners or operators of long stay car parking spaces in the central business district and inner Melbourne under the Congestion Levy Act 2005
- duties imposed under the Duties Act 2000, such as transfers of (and other dealings with) Victorian land, acquisitions of interests in companies or trusts which hold Victorian land worth in excess of $1 million and the registration and transfer of motor vehicles
- growth areas infrastructure contributions that must be paid by owners on the acquisition of, or steps taken to develop, Victorian land within a growth area, urban growth boundary or urban growth zone under Part 9B of the Planning and Environment Act 1987
- land taxes imposed annually on owners of Victorian land under the Land Tax Act 2005
- payroll taxes on Victorian wages paid by employers and deemed employers under the Payroll Tax Act 2007
- gambling taxes imposed under the Gambling Taxation Act 2023, including casino taxes, community benefit levies, taxes on net keno revenue and other wagering and betting taxes
- windfall gains taxes imposed under the Windfall Gains Tax Act 2021.
Cases we can hear
Only the Commissioner can refer a matter to VCAT, but you can ask the Commissioner to do so. The Commissioner may require you to give further information about your objection before referring it to VCAT.
Cases we can't help with
We can’t accept:
- some cases where one party lives in another state or is a Commonwealth government organisation
- cases heard under federal law instead of Victorian law.
Legislation that gives VCAT the power to hear these applications
Section 106 of the Taxation Administration Act 1997
Your request to the Commissioner to refer the matter to VCAT must be made within 60 days after service on you of the Commissioner’s determination. VCAT cannot extend the time for making this request.
You may also request the Commissioner to refer the matter to VCAT if the Commissioner has not determined your objection within 90 days of receiving your objection.
The Commissioner must generally refer the matter to VCAT within 60 days of receiving your request. However, further time is allowed if the Commissioner requires you to give further information about your objection. If you don't provide this within 30 days, the Commissioner will not refer the matter.
What can VCAT order?
- reduce, increase or vary the assessment or decision
- set aside the assessment or decision and substitute our own decision
- send back the matter for reconsideration by the Commissioner.
If you don't appear before VCAT, we are bound to confirm the assessment. If good cause is shown for not appearing and you apply within the prescribed time, VCAT may reopen and review the matter.
Can costs be awarded against me?
No. In taxation matters costs can't be awarded in the case. However, as a result of amendments made to the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal Act 1998, VCAT can order a party to reimburse the application fee paid by the other party.
Is tax payable pending review?
Yes, but you may request the matter be referred to VCAT even if the tax hasn't been paid.
Am I bound by the grounds of objection?
Your case will be limited to the grounds of the objection, and the Commissioner’s case will be limited to the grounds on which the objection was disallowed, unless VCAT orders otherwise.
Who has the onus of proof on review?
You have the onus (responsibility) of proving your case. The evidence that VCAT will consider includes the material gathered by the Commissioner during their investigations, which they must submit at the time of the referral. This material is known as the T Documents. Any other evidence that you submit following VCAT’s directions will also be considered.
Am I entitled to interest if I'm successful and have already paid the tax?
VCAT can't award interest. However, interest may be payable if you overpaid a tax because of a VCAT decision. Any entitlement to interest will be determined by the Commissioner.
Are compulsory conferences held?
Compulsory conferences are rarely held for state taxation cases unless the Commissioner consents. If you consider that a compulsory conference may help to resolve your matter, you should first ask the Commissioner if they agree to it.
We can explain the application process and what the form is asking you for. Contact us to get support.
We can't give you legal advice. This means we cannot tell you what to write in your application or recommend how to get the outcome you want.
Seek legal help if you're unsure about your options or need advice about your claim.
Do I need a lawyer or professional representative?
You don't need to have legal or other professional representation to appear at VCAT. If you want to be represented by a lawyer or a professional advocate, usually you must ask for VCAT's permission.
Be aware that the regulatory body in most cases uses legal representation.
Find legal services that may be able to assist you.
Access and privacy
VCAT hearings and files are usually public.
VCAT has limited authority to restrict who can access cases and files but, in certain circumstances, you can apply for confidentiality.