If you are dissatisfied with the Commissioner’s decision about your FHOG objection, you may request that the matter is referred to the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (the Tribunal).
Your request must be in writing and we must receive it within 60 days of the date the notice of determination of your objection is served on you. It is important that you are aware that there is no discretion for this time period to be extended.
Note: if you are dissatisfied with the Commissioner's decision about your taxation objection, you must follow a different appeal process.
The Tribunal is an independent body that can review your matter and may confirm or vary the Commissioner’s decision on the application for the FHOG.
The onus of proving your case at the Tribunal is on you. You may do this through your own evidence, evidence from other people and from documents that support your case.
In presenting your case, you can only rely on the grounds set out in your objection, unless you obtain the Tribunal’s consent to rely on new grounds.
Similarly, the Commissioner can only rely on the grounds on which he disallowed your objection, unless he obtains the Tribunal’s consent to rely on new grounds.
Request a referral
If you decide to ask the Commissioner to refer your matter to the Tribunal, you must lodge your written request with us.
Do not lodge your written request directly with the Tribunal. The Tribunal has no statutory power to accept an application directly from you.
Your written request may be addressed to the attention of the delegate of the Commissioner whose details are set out in the notice of determination of your objection.
After we receive your request, we refer your matter to the Tribunal and let you know when we have done this.
We must receive your request for a referral within 60 days of the date the notice of determination of your objection is served on you.
This 60 day time limit is a strict statutory time limit set out in the First Home Owner Act 2000. It cannot be extended by the Commissioner or the Tribunal.
Costs for the Tribunal
After the Commissioner has referred your matter to the Tribunal, the Tribunal will ask you to pay a fee.
Please visit www.vcat.vic.gov.au for information about the fee structure. The Tribunal may waive this fee if payment would cause you financial hardship. If the your matter takes more than one day to hear, you may also be required to pay a fee for each subsequent day or part of a day of the hearing.
If the application fee is not paid or waived, the Tribunal may refuse to review the matter. If you pay the fee later, you can then apply to the Tribunal for it to review the matter, but your application may not be automatically granted.
You and the Commissioner each bear your own costs of the Tribunal proceeding. This means that if you choose to be legally represented, you have to pay these costs, even if your application is successful. Similarly, you will not have to pay the Commissioner’s costs if he is successful.
A Tribunal hearing, in most instances, is less formal than a court hearing. You can appear in person or be represented by someone you choose.
If you wish to be represented by someone other than a professional advocate (e.g. a family friend), you need the Tribunal’s permission. Your hearing will be held in public, unless the Tribunal agrees it can be held in private. Private hearings are only permitted in exceptional circumstances.
Disagreeing with the Tribunal’s decision
You may be able to seek leave to appeal to the Supreme Court of Victoria (the Court) on a question of law.
Similarly, the Commissioner may seek leave to appeal to the Court on a question of law. If you seek leave to appeal from a Tribunal decision and are unsuccessful, or successfully seek leave but lose your appeal, you may have costs awarded against you. If so, you may seek assistance under the Appeal Costs Act 1998.
If your appeal is successful, the Court may award costs in your favour and against the Commissioner.
You can read more about fees or the Tribunal on its website.
You can read about some of the Tribunal’s decisions in FHOG matters from the Australasian Legal Information Institute (AustLII).
Decisions against you
If the Tribunal decides against you and you have an outstanding FHOG liability (including the amount of the FHOG required to be repaid and any penalty imposed), you are still liable to pay interest on any unpaid amount.
Interest is calculated on a daily basis from the last day for payment until the day payment is made. The interest rate applied is the sum of the market rate and the premium rate.
The current and historical market rates of interest are available on our website.
The premium rate of interest is 8 per cent per annum.
Your payment options are available on our website.