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What happens after an application is lodged?

We will send a letter to the applicant to confirm that we have received the application and explain what will happen next.

We also notify other parties to the review that we have received the application. As well as you, the parties are:

  • the Commissioner of Taxation (the Commissioner)
  • any other person who is a party to the review.

If we can review your decision, the case will be allocated to an Assistant Case Assessment Registrar (ACAR) for early case assessment conferencing. The Small Business Taxation Division uses an early case assessment conferencing process to identify the most effective and efficient way to progress each application. If your case can be resolved informally, for example by an exchange of information or early negotiation between you and the Commissioner, the ACAR will facilitate this process. Otherwise, the ACAR will discuss with you and the Commissioner other ways to resolve your case.  The next steps may include other alternative dispute resolution (ADR) processes, a directions hearing or a hearing.

You can look at the AAT's Practice Direction titled Review of Small Business Taxation Decisions and the Guide to the Small Business Taxation Division for more information about what happens after you lodge the application. You can also watch our video guide.

If representing yourself, we will usually call you within 7 days after we receive the application to explain the review process and ask whether you need additional assistance, such as an interpreter.

What if we cannot review the decision?

We will write to the applicant and give you an opportunity to tell us why you think we can review the decision. If you do not respond or cannot show us that we can review the decision, we might dismiss the application. Sometimes a hearing is held to decide if we can review the decision.

Documents relevant to the review

Documents from the Commissioner of Taxation

Within 14 days of receipt of the AAT’s letter, or as soon as practical, the Commissioner must provide to the AAT:

  • contact details for the person within the Australian Tax Office who is representing the Commissioner and whether the Commissioner intends to be represented by an external lawyer (if known at that time)
  • information that would assist the AAT in determining whether early resolution is possible between you and the Commissioner.

T documents

The Commissioner will send us the decision and all relevant review documents within 28 days after being told the application has been received. These are called 'T documents'.

T documents will also be sent to you and any other party. If you have a representative, we will usually send the T documents to that person.

T documents are provided under section 37 of the Administrative Appeals Tribunal Act 1975 as modified by section 14ZZF of the Taxation Administration Act 1953.

Confidential T Documents

The Commissioner can ask the AAT for an order that certain content within the T documents is not to be disclosed to you or another party. You can also ask the AAT for an order if there is information you do not want another party to see. We will consider any application and tell you our decision.

Request the T documents earlier

You can ask for the T documents to be provided earlier if a delay would cause you hardship. You must complete the Request for order to shorten time for lodging documents form. We will consider any request and tell you our decision.

Giving us new information

You can give us new information that you think supports your case.


We usually hold hearings in public and publish our decisions on the AustLII website.

However, in taxation cases you have the right to ask for the hearing of your case to be in private. If you ask for your case to be heard in private it means that, as far as practical, the AAT will write its reasons for its decision in a way that is unlikely to identify you.

If you want a certain piece of evidence or a witness’ name kept confidential, you can ask for a confidentiality order under section 35 of the Administrative Appeals Tribunal Act 1975 which may further restrict what the AAT can publish in its decision.

Confidentiality orders

In other circumstances, we can order that:

  • the hearing is held in private
  • the name or address of a party or witness, or other information that we hold, be kept confidential
  • information in the reasons for a decision is not made public.

You, another party or the Commissioner can ask for a confidentiality order at any stage of the review by telling us in writing what it is that you want to be kept confidential and why.

We will only make a confidentiality order if we are satisfied there is a good reason for doing so.

Directions hearing

We may decide to hold a directions hearing by telephone, videoconference or in person at the AAT's offices to discuss with the parties any issue in the review. This could happen if you, the Commissioner or another party ask for it, or if we decide it is necessary.


If the review is not resolved at an earlier stage, we will usually hold a hearing.

The hearing is an opportunity for you to present your case before a Tribunal member who will make a decision about the review.