Penalty remissions

The School of Taxation and Business Law has specific rules for tax flexible distance/CBD courses that apply to assignments that are submitted late (research papers are considered to be assignments for the purpose of this policy).

These rules are for the benefit of all students and are to ensure that assignments can be marked and returned as soon as possible. Late submission by some students means delays in marking and unfair consequences for all students. An assignment is considered late if it is submitted after midnight EST on the specified due date.

All requests are to be submitted via myUNSW Special Consideration.

These guidelines outline how special consideration will be assessed:

  • Late submission penalties 
  • General points
  • Completing your request
  • Grounds for penalty remission
  • Documentation
  • Late submission penalties

    • 1-5 working days late: 10% of the maximum marks available for the assessment item will be deducted.
    • 6-10 working days late: 20% of the maximum marks available for the assessment item will be deducted.
    • 11 working days late (or more): The assignment can be perused, but no marks will be awarded.

    Please note that the penalties are applied to the maximum marks available for the assignment, not the actual mark awarded.

    Penalty example

    A student is due to submit an assignment by Monday 4 April. The assignment is in fact submitted on 18 April (10 working days late). The penalty for lateness will be 20% of the maximum marks available for the assessment.

    If the student’s mark before the imposition of the penalty was a credit mark of 65%, after taking the penalty into account this mark will fall to 45% – a failure.

    Penalty remission

    If illness or other verified circumstances beyond your control have a significant effect on your ability to submit an assignment by the due date, the normal penalty may be remitted. Doctor’s reasons must be sufficiently detailed and specifically address the effect of the medical condition on your ability to complete assignments.

    General points

    • Lecturers are not permitted to grant penalty remission and you should not approach lecturers for this purpose. The School supervises all penalty remission requests.
    • You should not anticipate that a penalty remission will be granted, and should endeavour to submit all assignments as soon as possible.
    • You are advised to begin preparing assignments well before the submission date so that normal problems are easily avoided.
    • If you require academic assistance contact your lecturer.
    • You have only 12 weeks in the semester, during which time assignments must be completed. You also need to prepare for the final examination in all courses. Therefore, your time management is very important.

    Completing your request

    Your request will not be complete unless you provide the following:

    • 1-5 working days late: Your penalty remission request must clearly show that you are seeking a 10% penalty remission and you must clearly state your reasons and provide all relevant documentation. If your reasons are judged insufficient you will receive no remission of penalty.
    • 6-10 working days late: Your penalty remission request should indicate whether you are seeking a 10% or a 20% remission. You must clearly show why the penalty remission you are seeking is valid in full and provide all relevant documentation. If your reasons are judged insufficient and you claimed 20% you will receive only a 10% remission or no remission depending on the judged validity of your claim. If your reasons are judged insufficient and you claimed 10% you will receive no remission of penalty.

    Your returned assignment will indicate if any penalty has been applied. If you have any queries regarding the penalties applied and reasons why remission of penalty is not evident, please email

    Grounds for penalty remission

    Please note that this list is inclusive and indicative rather than exhaustive.

    Medical reasons

    Includes psychological, psychiatric conditions and emotional disturbances.

    • Medically based requests for remission will only be considered where all information is completed on the Professional Authority Form or a doctor’s own Medical Certificate Form. The number of days late must correspond with the documentary certification (i.e. if the assignment is 5 days late, the medical certification must be no less than these 5 days). In addition, these days must be before the due date of the assignment.
    • No remissions on the basis of medical grounds will be considered without documentation.
    • Medical reasons may apply to your partner, children or close relatives. Therefore you may apply for a penalty remission on the basis of the medical condition of close relatives. In addition to providing the certificate, you must specify in writing how the medical problems have affected your assignment preparation.
    Death and funeral or close relatives etc.
    We understand that times of trauma are very difficult periods in our lives. It is quite likely that in this situation you will claim penalty remissions based on medical grounds. If not based on medical grounds, your request must be supported by some written evidence of the death, for example a copy of the newspaper notification of the relevant death or funeral. You must also provide a signed statement explaining the relationship of the deceased to yourself and why a substantial delay in submission of your assignment was inevitable.
    Work demands
    Penalty remissions owing to work commitments will be granted only in the most exceptional circumstances. You must demonstrate that you have extraordinary and unexpected changes in your workload. In addition, to provide clear documentation of these circumstances you must include a signed statement by your supervisor attesting to the accuracy of your written claim.
    Voluntary work
    Generally the demands of additional voluntary undertakings will not constitute grounds for penalty remission.
    Dropping out
    If you suggest that you will have to ‘drop out’ unless you receive a Penalty remission you will be referred directly to the Director of Coursework, UNSW Taxation and Business Law. Counselling will be provided, if necessary, by specialist counsellors, but, unless other exceptional circumstances exist, you will not be granted a Penalty Remission simply because you feel you are not able to proceed.
    Sporting or social commitments
    Except in the most extraordinary circumstances sporting and social commitments are not accepted for Penalty remission requests. We encourage you to stay involved with such activities but to ensure that you allow for study, assignments and exam periods.
    Computer malfunctions
    Computer breakdowns, viruses or other malfunctions are not valid reasons for receiving a Penalty remission. The sheer number of such requests demonstrates that such problems are ‘every day’ in nature and must be planned for in advance. You must ensure that you back up your work and arrange alternative work locations if necessary.
    Child care
    Normal non-medical childcare duties are not valid reasons for Penalty remission. Where medical conditions occur you fall within the normal medical rules stated previously.
    Natural disasters and fires
    Penalty remissions may be permitted for documented substantial damage to your home or workplace, where there are real effects on your ability to complete assignments. It is up to you to substantiate the circumstances in writing and to explain fully why the impact on you inevitably disrupted and delayed assignment preparation.


    The request cannot be processed until all information is complete.

    Note: In all cases, the Professional Authority Form or Medical Certificate must contain a medical practitioner's stamp where indicated and/or name and address, and must be signed by the medical practitioner.