This website is for use by legal professionals (lawyers and law practices) only. If the information is used incorrectly, you could risk losing money or your legal rights. If you are a member of the public looking for free advice about your legal problems please visit legalaid.vic.gov.au, or contact our Legal Help advice line on 1300 792 387, Monday to Friday from 8 am to 6 pm. 

If you decide to use or rely on the information or make decisions based on the information in this website (which VLA does not recommend) VLA is not liable to you or any third party in any way for any loss, damage, costs or expenses you or they may suffer or incur as a result.

Services and info for clients about taxation

Key services, information and resources for clients in relation to taxation.

Australian Taxation Office

The Australian Taxation Office (ATO) website has information for individuals, businesses, non-profit, government, tax professionals and about super funds.

See Australian Taxation Office(opens in a new window).

The ATO also has a free program called Tax Help. It is a network of community volunteers who provide a free and confidential service to help people complete their tax returns at tax time.

The volunteers are not ATO staff, but they do receive training and support from the ATO.

Tax Help is for people on low incomes including, but not restricted to:

  • seniors
  • students
  • people from non-English speaking backgrounds
  • people with a disability

Aboriginal people or Torres Strait Islander people.

See Australian Tax Office—Tax help program(opens in a new window).

To seek a review of a decision see Australian Taxation Office—Object to an ATO decision(opens in a new window).

Inspector General of Taxation

The Inspector General can assist if a person has a complaint about any administrative actions by the Australian Tax Office (ATO) or the Tax Practitioners Board. Administrative actions mean the fairness and reasonableness of the ATOs approach in its dealings and interactions with people. These could include:

  • how long it takes for them to respond to requests
  • the conduct of the officers
  • the availability of services
  • whether the ATO has considered all the relevant information about a matter.

The IGA cannot assist with rules or laws about a person's obligation to pay an amount of tax, or the laws and rules about who an amount of tax is calculated.

See Inspector General of Taxation(opens in a new window).

Commonwealth Ombudsman

A person can apply to the ombudsman if they have a complaint about Freedom of Information that relates to the Australian Tax Office, however they no longer deal with other tax related complaints. General tax complaints are heard by the Inspector General of Taxation.

See Commonwealth Ombudsman—Taxation(opens in a new window).

Administrative Appeals Tribunal (AAT)

If a person is not happy with a decision by the ATO they can appeal to the AAT. The application fee is $85 for applications where:

  • the ATO has refused a request that a tax debt be excused
  • the ATO has refused to extend the time for a person to lodge an objection, or
  • the amount of tax in dispute is less than $5000

For amounts over this the fee is higher.

See AAT—Taxation and Commercial(opens in a new window).

Department of Finance

Discretionary compensation

The Commonwealth Government has the power to provide discretionary financial assistance in cases where they believe that there is a moral responsibility to provide assistance (rather than a legal responsibility).

One avenue of compensation is through the Compensation for Detriment caused by Defective Administration (CDDA Scheme). This scheme may provide compensation where a person has suffered detriment due to the defective actions or inaction by the Commonwealth Government.

Decisions about compensation under this scheme are made by the Minister responsible for the relevant non-Corporate Government agency that is alleged to have been defective. Agencies include: Centrelink, Medicare, Child Support, Federal Police, Australian Tax Office, Department of Health, Department of Education and Training, Department of Home Affairs.

See Department of Finance (Cth)—Scheme for Compensation for Detriment caused by Defective Administration (the CDDA Scheme)(opens in a new window) .

Law Institute Victoria

The Law Institute of Victoria (LIV) Legal Referral Service provides client referrals to lawyers across Victoria. The referral service operates a telephone service during business hours and an online service through the LIV website.

Referrals are tailored to meet client needs and provide a listing of up to three law firms practising in a particular area of law. All law firms participating in the referral service undertake to see clients for the first 30 minutes free of charge. This interview can be used to determine the nature of the legal issue and discuss the available options. Normal fees are charged after the first 30 minutes or if work needs to be prepared on the client’s behalf.

Phone (03) 9607 9550.

See Law Institute Victoria—Legal Referral Service(opens in a new window).

This is VLA's online referral booking and information tool.

See Legal Help Online (Orbit(opens in a new window)).

Court, CLC, FRC and VLA panels locator

Use Toby's maps to locate community legal centres, courts and private lawyers on the Victoria Legal Aid panel. Search for a list of services near where the caller lives. Search by postcode, name of organisation, phone number or suburb. Tick/untick the boxes to select the search categories.

Do not hit enter to avoid searching globally. Hit F5 to undo this global search.

See Google maps link for CLCs and 29A panellists(opens in a new window).

For Generalist CLCs and Local Government Agencies see Google maps link for General CLCs(opens in a new window).

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