Understanding your decision, and what happens next
- Reasons in person
- Reasons in writing
- What does the AAT decision mean?
- Are AAT decisions made public?
- Will I get a refund of my fee?
- What can I do if I disagree with the AAT's decision?
- What happens if the department does not do what the AAT ordered?
- What does the Commonwealth Ombudsman do?
- How can I find out more about my decision?
The AAT will make its decision after it has heard and considered your case. The AAT will decide if the decision being reviewed should stay the same or be changed. The AAT will explain why it made its decision.
The AAT Member(s) who heard your case will give you the decision and the reasons for the decision either:
- in person, or
- in writing.
Sometimes, instead of providing written reasons for a decision, the AAT Member(s) will tell you in person the decision and the reasons for the decision - usually immediately after the hearing.
You and the department will receive a copy of the decision in writing without detailed written reasons.
If you want the reasons for the decision in writing, you usually need to ask for them. You can do this in writing or by calling the AAT no later than 28 days after receiving a copy of the decision.
If the department asks for the reasons in writing, the AAT will also send you a copy.
If the AAT Member(s) wants more time after the hearing to think about the decision, you will usually receive the decision and the reasons for the decision in writing. The AAT usually gives its decision within two months of the hearing.
We will contact you or your representative and the department to tell you when the decision will be available. If you or your representative cannot come to our office to collect the decision, we will send you a copy.
The AAT may affirm, vary or set aside the decision being reviewed.
If the AAT affirms the decision, this means the decision made by the department is not changed.
If the AAT varies the decision, this means the decision has been changed or altered in some way.
If the AAT sets aside the decision and substitutes a new decision, this means it agrees or partially agrees that the decision was wrong and has changed all or part of the decision.
If the AAT sets aside and remits the decision, this means it is sending the matter back to the department to be decided again in accordance with its instructions or recommendations.
If you are unclear what your decision means, ask the AAT.
Yes - AAT decisions and reasons given in writing are usually made publicly available, including on the internet.
The AAT can order that a decision not be published if there is a good reason to do so.
For more information about privacy and confidentiality at the AAT see our fact sheet, Privacy and confidentiality at the AAT. It's available on our website or you can ask us to send it to you.
Our staff can also answer any questions you have about this.
If you paid the full application fee and the application is resolved in your favour, you will receive a partial refund. If you are entitled to a refund, you should receive it within six weeks of receiving your decision. If you have not received a refund after six weeks, contact the AAT.
The application fee is not refunded if you paid a reduced application fee, or if your case was dealt with by the Small Taxation Claims Tribunal.
If you think the AAT's decision is wrong, you can appeal to a court.
For most AAT decisions, you can appeal to the Federal Court, but an appeal to the Federal Court can only be about a question of law. This means that you or your representative must believe the AAT made a mistake in law in deciding your case.
You must make your appeal to the Federal Court no later than 28 days after receiving the AAT's decision. The appeal must be on a special form available from the Federal Court. For more information about how to make an appeal, visit the Federal Court's website.
You might want to get legal assistance if you are thinking about appealing because there are many rules about Federal Court appeals.
The department does not do what the AAT ordered, during the appeal period?
The department also has 28 days to appeal the AAT's decision if it thinks it is wrong.
If the department has not complied with an AAT decision during this time, it might be because it is considering an appeal to the Federal Court.
The department does not do what the AAT ordered, after the appeal period?
If the appeal period has expired and the department has not done what the AAT said it should do, you should contact the person who represented the department at the hearing. They should be able to find out what is happening and explain why there might be a delay.
If you are not sure who to contact, call the AAT and we will help you.
If there has been no appeal and you are unhappy about the delay, you can seek the assistance of the Commonwealth Ombudsman.
The Commonwealth Ombudsman investigates complaints about Australian Government departments and agencies.
If you want the Ombudsman to investigate your complaint, you will need to provide enough information for the person investigating your complaint to find out why there is a delay in carrying out the AAT's decision.
You can make a complaint to the Ombudsman in person, over the phone, in writing (by letter, email, fax or SMS) or over the internet. For more information, call the Ombudsman's office on 1300 362 072 or visit the Ombudsman's website.
You can contact us at any stage if you have any questions about your decision.
The AAT's Service Charter sets out the standards of service you can expect from us and how to make a complaint if you are not satisfied with how we have dealt with your case. It's available on our website or you can ask us to send it to you.
Contact the AAT
Contact us by mail, phone, fax or email.
View this brochure in PDF (49 KB).
View this brochure in Large Print RTF (144 KB).
Order a print copy of this brochure by contacting your local AAT Registry.
Version: November 2010
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