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  • Lodging

    We received 16.2 million income tax returns in 2012–13, an increase of around 300,000 (1.9%) compared to 2011–12. Most taxpayers continue to lodge their returns on time and we have seen a two percentage point improvement in the on-time lodgment of returns over the past three years.

    Our strategy to improve on-time lodgment included:

    • working with registered tax agents to help them achieve a target of 85% of their clients' returns lodged on time
    • targeting long-term non-lodgers and at-risk populations, including superannuation funds, trusts, partnerships and large businesses.
    Table 2.5 On-time lodgment of income tax returns, 2010–11 to 2011–12









    Superannuation funds












    Comparison as at 30 June for each relevant year.
    Lodgment on time refers to original tax returns received by the ATO within seven days of the due date.
    The methodology for reporting lodgment performance has changed. The new methodology measures income tax returns lodged as a proportion of the expected number of lodgments, based on the population we anticipate have a lodgment obligation due under self-assessment.

    Our Tax Help network of community volunteers provided free and confidential service to help low-income and disadvantaged taxpayers complete their tax returns during tax time. Volunteers are fully trained, accredited and supported by us.

    From over 880 centres across Australia, this year we:

    • trained around 1,300 volunteers
    • helped around 58,000 taxpayers
    • helped people to lodge more than 45,000 tax returns, of which 70% were lodged electronically
    • provided services in 17 dedicated Indigenous Tax Help centres.

    The volume of lodgments we receive electronically continues to grow, as seen through an increase in the use of e-tax. We are working to transition all business lodgments to electronic channels.

    E-tax is a free service that allows people to lodge individual tax returns online. The service has been available for over 10 years and is now also available for Apple Mac users.

    Individuals tax returns lodged in 2012–13

    Individuals tax returns lodged 2012-13

    This year, 12.6 million or 93.4% of individual tax returns were lodged electronically. Of people who prepared their own tax returns, 2.7 million or 77.3% lodged electronically using e-tax, an increase of 2.5% over last year. Among registered tax agents 99.1% lodged electronically.

    Our pre-filling service helps taxpayers report their income correctly. Pre-filling is widely used, with around 11.4 million taxpayers using the service in 2012–13, compared to 10.5 million in 2011–12 (an increase of 8.2%).

    Pre-fill downloads in Tax Agent Portal 2008–09 to 2012–13

    Pre-fill downloads in Tax Agent Portal

    We have expanded our information-gathering capabilities to include transactions such as payments to contractors in the building and construction industry. The aim of the new taxable payments reporting is to improve compliance with tax obligations, creating a level playing field for all businesses.

    Tax time runs from 1 July to 31 October and accounts for approximately 60% of all lodgments throughout the year. To improve Tax Time 2012, we issued targeted communications to tax practitioners to advise them of common errors affecting the processing of returns.

    Of the almost 10 million business activity statements (BAS) lodged in 2012–13, 58.9% were lodged electronically. On-time lodgments were 80.0% for taxpayers issued with a monthly BAS and 75.8% for those issued with a quarterly BAS. On-time lodgments have been stable for the last three years.

    By registering to use our individuals' portal, people can change their address, check the progress of their return, view and transfer lost superannuation accounts and view notices of assessment.

    Last modified: 07 Oct 2014QC 42683