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ATO Interpretative Decision

ATO ID 2001/248 (Withdrawn)

Income Tax
Penalty tax for failure to exercise reasonable care and remission of General Interest Charge

Attention ATO ID 2001/248 is to be withdrawn. Decision not current. Section 170AA of the Income Tax Assessment Act 1936 (ITAA 1936) does not apply to amendments relating to the 2000-01 year of income or a later year of income. The penalty tax provisions under Part VII (ITAA 1936) do not apply to statements made, or schemes entered into, in relation to the 2000-2001 year of income or a later year of income.
Attention This document has changed over time. View its history.
FOI status: may be released
Status of this decision: Decision withdrawn 14 July 2017.

CautionCAUTION: This is an edited and summarised record of a Tax Office decision. This record is not published as a form of advice. It is being made available for your inspection to meet FOI requirements, because it may be used by an officer in making another decision.

This ATOID provides you with the following level of protection:

If you reasonably apply this decision in good faith to your own circumstances (which are not materially different from those described in the decision), and the decision is later found to be incorrect you will not be liable to pay any penalty or interest. However, you will be required to pay any underpaid tax (or repay any over-claimed credit, grant or benefit), provided the time limits under the law allow it. If you do intend to apply this decision to your own circumstances, you will need to ensure that the relevant provisions referred to in the decision have not been amended or repealed. You may wish to obtain further advice from the Tax Office or from a professional adviser.


1. Whether the taxpayer, who is misled by the instructions in TaxPack when claiming work related car expenses, is subject to penalty tax under section 226G of the Income Tax Assessment Act 1936 (ITAA 1936) for failing to exercise reasonable care. 2. Whether the General Interest Charge (GIC) imposed under section 170AA (ITAA 1936) should be remitted under section 8AAG of the Taxation Administration Act 1953 (TAA 1953).


1. The taxpayer is not subject to penalty tax under section 226G (ITAA 1936).

2. The GIC imposed under section 170AA (ITAA 1936) should be remitted.


The taxpayer lodges their tax return, in which the taxpayer makes substantial claims for work related car expenses, including both depreciation and leasing charges. Subsequently the taxpayer is audited and an adjustment is made to disallow the depreciation claimed. The taxpayer is made liable to pay penalty tax under section 226G (ITAA 1936) that is equal to 25% of the amount of the tax shortfall on the basis that the taxpayer has failed to take reasonable care. The taxpayer is also liable to pay GIC under section 170AA (ITAA 1936).

The taxpayer objects to the penalty tax imposed, claiming to have been misled by the instructions in TaxPack and states that the instructions in TaxPack imply that both leasing charges and depreciation may be claimed. The Australian Taxation Office (ATO) subsequently accepts that the instructions in Tax Pack are misleading.

Reasons for Decision

Under section 226G (ITAA 1936) penalty tax is attracted where a taxpayer has a tax shortfall caused by their failure to take reasonable care. Taxation Ruling TR 94/4 provides guidelines as to what constitutes reasonable care. Paragraph 6 of Taxation Ruling TR 94/4 states that the reasonable care standard requires a taxpayer to take the care that a reasonable person would exercise, in their particular circumstances, to fulfil the taxpayer's tax obligations. Provided that a taxpayer may be judged to have tried his or her best to lodge a correct return, having regard to the taxpayer's experience, education, skill and other relevant circumstances, the taxpayer will not be liable to pay penalty.

Section 8AAG (Taxation Administration Act 1953 (TAA 1953)) allows the Commissioner to remit all or part of any GIC payable.

The taxpayer used TaxPack to prepare the tax return. The Commissioner's guarantee states that where TaxPack is misleading and the taxpayer makes a mistake as a result, the ATO will not charge penalty or GIC on the tax shortfall. The ATO acknowledges that the instructions in TaxPack at the time were misleading and as a result amends the instructions in the following year's TaxPack for clarity.

In the circumstances, the taxpayer took reasonable care but was misled by the instructions in TaxPack . Therefore, the taxpayer is not subject to penalty tax under section 226G (ITAA 1936) for failing to take reasonable care. The GIC imposed under section 170AA (ITAA 1936) should also be remitted in full under section 8AAG (TAA 1953) as the mistake was clearly due to the unclear instructions in TaxPack .

Date of decision: 6 September 2000

Legislative References:
Income Tax Assessment Act 1936
   section 170AA
   section 226G

Taxation Administration Act 1953
   section 8AAG

Related Public Rulings (including Determinations)
TR 94/4

Other References

Tax administration
General interest charge
Income tax penalties
Income tax shortfall
Remission of penalties

Siebel/TDMS Reference Number: CIC258873; 1-BW6MLNT

Business Line: Small Business/Individual Taxpayers

Date of publication: 27 August 2001

ISSN: 1445-2782

ATO ID 2001/248 (Withdrawn) history   Top  
   Date   Version 
    6 September 2000   Original statement   
 You are here ®  14 July 2017   Withdrawn   


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