Griffith University will hold a free seminar this month to help everyday people understand their rights and responsibilities when dealing with the Australian Tax Office.

From 6pm on Tuesday 16 April, the public is invited to attend the two-hour session at the University’s Logan campus to learn how to better endure the frequently confusing experience of engaging with the ATO.

Griffith academic and taxation expert Professor Brett Freudenberg and accountant Colin Perryman will take attendees through topics such as how to navigate the service and conduct searches on the ATO’s website, what to do with binding ATO advice, the amendment and objection process, debt management and document keeping requirements, among others.

Professor Brett Freudenberg

“Dealing with the Tax Office can be intimidating and off-putting for many people, as the path to a quick resolution is not always immediately clear, and the process can very quickly become confusing and protracted,” Professor Freudenberg said.

“However, issues with the ATO seldom just disappear on their own, and the longer a tax issue is left unresolved, the more likely that the situation will only get worse.

“In serious cases, this can greatly affect the amount of money coming back into your pocket through tax refunds, to the point that you’ll end up owing the ATO money that otherwise would rightfully belong to you.”

Although free, the event does require registration, available online until Friday 12 April.

The first in a monthly series, the seminar comes ahead of the launch of Griffith’s free Student Tax Clinics this July, about which further information will be presented on the evening.

According to Professor Freudenberg, they will provide a means of access for vulnerable people in terms of understanding Australia’s tax laws.

“The Clinics will be able to help assist those who are having problems navigating Australia’s complex tax system, including providing advice about their rights and obligations,” he said.

“They could also assist those who have just commenced employment or have small business operations and are struggling with the tax rules that apply to such transitions — especially if they feel they cannot afford professional support.”