Here are some suggested entries you might make in a Notice of response (NOR) - R771 form for this type of dispute. These are a guide only and if your circumstances are similar to the scenario, you will need to provide specific evidence to support your view
You run a small business from home as a personal trainer. Your main focus is on athletes involved in adventure ultra-marathon running.
You arrange training camps so that your customers can do specific training on remote ultra-marathon courses. You charge a one-off fee to your customers and in return provide training, advice, accommodation and food.
Your accountant advised you to voluntarily register for GST even though your turnover is below the compulsory registration threshold. You have filed all your GST returns to date.
We’ve investigated your GST returns and identified what we consider to be private expenses claimed as input tax deductions in your GST returns.
We send you a Notice of proposed adjustment (NOPA) which proposes that the input tax deductions for groceries purchased from a supermarket should be disallowed.
You now wish to dispute the proposed changes in our NOPA and argue that all the expenses you claimed were related to your taxable activity.
Generally, you have two months to file your NOR from the date that we issued our NOPA.
Suggested entries in the NOR
What is the change you want?
Describe the change you want to any amounts on our NOPA. For example, if our NOPA proposes changes to the amount of input tax deductions, you might say, 'I agree that $800 of inputs were for private expenses but the balance of the expenses were for my taxable activity'. Alternatively, if you think the amount you provided on your GST return was correct then you can just refer to your return (eg 'Refer to GST return for the period ended 31/03/2022').
What facts support the change you want?
Describe the facts and circumstances that support your view that one or more of the proposed changes in our NOPA are wrong. Include any important facts you think we’re missing. If you disagree with our view of the facts then explain how we’re wrong.
If the facts you’re relying on have already been stated in our NOPA, you can say something like 'I am relying on the facts set out in Inland Revenue’s NOPA'. If you have more facts you would like to add you could also say '…with the addition of the following facts…' and then add the additional facts. Relevant facts might include:
- What your taxable activity involves.
- The nature of the purchases. For example, groceries for training camps.
- Why you think the expenditure is deductible. For example, 'I keep my personal grocery shopping separate'.
- Why the expenditure amount is significant. For example, 'it turns out that ultra-marathoners are a hungry lot and I incurred significant expenditure on groceries for the camps'.
Why do you think your view is correct?
Explain why you think your view is correct. You'll need to provide details of the law you are relying on to support your view. If you can’t do this, then you’ll need to provide enough detail so we can identify any relevant legislative provisions for you. You’ll also need to explain how the law applies to the facts. If you disagree with our view of the law then explain how we’re wrong.
An example of law is 'I paid for groceries that were used in my taxable activity and should be allowed an input tax deduction'. Some or all of the law may have already been included in our NOPA. If so, you can say something like 'I am relying on the law set out in Inland Revenue’s NOPA with the addition of …'. Then you might also say:
My accountant advised me before I started my taxable activity to keep my taxable activity and private affairs separate, and I have done so. Groceries were purchased specifically for the training camps. The promotional material for the training camps shows the food and other grocery items provided to customers. The amounts claimed as input tax deductions were only for groceries used in the taxable activity. The receipts show that the groceries were purchased from supermarkets outside my home town.
List the documents you’ve attached
In tax disputes you have the responsibility to prove the changes proposed in our NOPA are wrong. Attach copies of documents you’re aware of that are relevant to the issues you’ve raised. List the documents you’ve attached. Documents that might be helpful include:
- Promotional material for the training camps. For example, the menus, special dietary requirements, etc.
- Analysis of your separate private spending on groceries to show this separate spending was sufficient for personal living.
- Testimonials from customers about the training camps and the quality of the food you provided in remote locations.