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  • ATO consultation report

    This report describes ATO consultation activities in November 2020.

    This report is prepared monthly and shared with our stewardship groups.

    It contains:

    Consultation matters


    Consultation matters received


    Consultation matters completed


    Matters under consultation


    Draft advice and guidance products open for consultation


    Consultation matters received

    [202039] ATO web guidance on redirected conflicted remuneration payments

    [202037] Quarterly reporting concession for Single Touch Payroll

    [202034] Proposed guidance for illicit alcohol arrangements

    [202032] Superannuation guarantee letter to employers – User Testing

    [202030] National Tax Clinic open competitive grant program

    Consultation matters completed

    [202038] FBT – COVID-19 and working from home benefits

    [202035] Proposed design for aggregated turnover in income tax preparation

    [202033] Income statement – User Testing

    [202027] Payment Thinking – schedule payment concept

    [202013] Occupation and industry specific advice and guidance

    Draft advice and guidance products open for consultation

    Draft Taxation Determination TD 2020/D2 Income tax and fringe benefits tax: treatment of allowances and benefits provided to Australian Government employees posted overseas

    Draft Legislative Instrument Superannuation Data and Payment Standards (Release Authorities, and SMSF Rollovers) Amendment 2020

    Draft Law Administration Practice Statement PS LA 2020/D2 The ATO's administrative approach to the extension of the Commissioner's discretion to retain tax refunds

    Decision Impact Statement Commissioner of Taxation v Pike

    See open consultation for current products open for consultation.


    Stewardship groups

    The GST Stewardship Group met and the topics discussed included:

    • the recently released GST gap and an overview of ATO work to better understand the drivers of this gap
    • latest developments with e-invoicing
    • improving the ability to interact electronically with the ATO, including how to encourage a move from paper lodgment to electronic lodgment of Business Activity Statements
    • reflection on the value of 2020 meetings and planning for 2021.

    The Individuals Stewardship Group met and the topics discussed included:

    • economic stimulus measures – in particular the extension to JobKeeper payments to 28 March 2021 and working from home ‘short cut’ rate to 31 December 2020
    • ATO’s corporate plan, annual report and tax gap estimates
    • Digital Identity program – 30 agencies and 74 government online services have been onboarded to date, next phase of the project is to make facial verification technology available on the myGovID app
    • relevant federal budget measures – tax cuts brought forward to 2020-21 and the retention of low and middle income tax offset for 2020–21
    • reflections on the effectiveness of the group in 2020 and the format for the meetings in 2021    
      • Members appreciated receiving timely information throughout the year, particularly on the stimulus measures, and noted that for some audiences the communication needs to be in plain English and translated in other languages.
      • Members value the ability to interact and hear feedback and comments from other members of the Group.
      • It was suggested that members more actively put forward agenda topics or areas of concern for the community for future meetings.
      • The aim is to deliver topics in a more interactive format in 2021, noting that this year the focus at meetings has been about sharing information rather than consultation on changes to tax and super administration and new services.

    The National Tax Liaison Group met and the topics discussed included:

    • members observations of    
      • compliance in the current and post COVID-19 world
      • the impact of the ATO’s current approach to debt collection
      • the recent release of the tax gaps
    • OECD’s release of the Blueprints for Pillar 1 and Pillar 2
    • next steps for the Draft Terms of Reference for consultation arrangements for new legislation and related guidance
    • ATO’s Economic Stimulus Branch
    • annual update on the operation of the General Anti-Avoidance Rules Panel.

    The Not-for-profit Stewardship Group (NFPSG) met and the topics discussed included:

    • Exposure draft bill and explanatory memorandumExternal Link that will require deductible gift recipients (DGR) to register as charities
    • not for profits participation in an out-of-session demonstration of the Online services for business platform that will replace the Business Portal and the Electronic Superannuation Audit Tool (eSAT)
    • NFPSG refresh of the co-chair and members in early 2021 – further information and relevant expressions of interests will be issued next year.

    A number of NFPSG members met to re-commence consultation on income tax: exempt sporting clubs, following it being placed on hold due to COVID-19. The consultation proposes a refreshed ruling to replace Taxation Ruling TR 97/22 Income tax: exempt sporting clubs that will include practical examples for not-for-profits who seek income tax exemption.

    The Private Groups Stewardship Group (PGSG) met and the topics discussed included:

    • Superannuation and Employment Obligations (SEO) update on the Cash Flow Boost, Early Release of Super and the Super Guarantee Amnesty programs. SEO is progressing work on Your Future, Your Super where the ATO will provide employees with a Superfund if they have not nominated one.
    • Income tax update – future guidance will be provided regarding Temporary Full Expensing, Loss Carry Back, Research and Development, 100A and professional firms
    • Next 5000 Tax governance – guidance on how to prepare for a streamlined assurance review was published on the ATO website in late September
    • JobKeeper – compliance and statistical information on how the stimulus measure is progressing
    • JobMaker – work the ATO will be progressing
    • Medium Business Tax Gap, tax gap for a range of Excise related products, and mitigation strategies to reduce the gap
    • upgrade to the myGovID ID program – creating a better user experience for taxpayers including strengthening security measures such as facial recognition software
    • Stewardship charter – implementation of the standardised Stewardship group charter, noting information specific to the PGSG
    • membership refresh
    • reflections of the effectiveness and outcomes of the group to be requested.

    The Small Business Stewardship Group met and the topics discussed included:

    • ATO’s Digital Identity Program
    • Online services for business, including a demonstration of the key features
    • Small business income tax performance and the range of behaviours that impact the tax gap
    • 2020–21 outbound campaigns aimed at assuring the integrity of the Taxable Payments Reporting System.

    The Superannuation Industry Stewardship Group met and the topics discussed included:

    • Your Future, Your Super budget measure and elements in package
    • MyGovID and Relationship Authorisation Manager (RAM) post implementation
    • Early release of super data
    • results and highlights from the Mercer Global Pension Index report
    • superannuation environment and overview, including updates from the regulators
    • Superannuation guarantee amnesty process and outcomes.

    The Tax Practitioner Stewardship Group met and the topics discussed included:

    • Digital Identity Program and myGovID and RAM post implementation
    • Modernising Business Registers program and Director Identification Numbers
    • Small business update on the Digital cash flow coaching kit and Online services for business
    • JobKeeper and JobMaker
    • Tax gap estimates reported in the 2019-20 ATO annual report
    • Loss carry back budget measure.

    The TPSG together with members of the BAS Agent Association Group met to discuss the draft ATO Debt and Lodgment Narrative for 2020-21 and Differentiated payment plans.

    Special purpose working groups

    The ATO Online Superannuation Screens Communications Working Group met and the topics discussed included:

    • the ATO Online System Release scheduled for 5–6 December 2020
    • outward facing ATO Online system changes and contact centre support material such as help aside, scripting and a communications narrative
    • outward facing changes to the COVID early release of super screens, changes to Christmas shutdown processing times, applications instructions and scheduled decommissioning of the screens.

    The Fringe Benefits Tax Working Group met and the topics discussed included:

    • Fringe benefits tax (FBT) and Working from Home expenditure, including discussion of a draft Covid-19 and working from home benefits fact sheet – members were invited to provide feedback
    • FBT and car parking, with clarification of what a ‘commercial car park’ is in situations where commercial car parks have varied their operations during lockdowns
    • use of journal entries for recording employee contribution to benefits received
    • treatment of employee contributions to car fringe benefits
    • annual review of the FBT working group
    • recently released FBT gap.

    The Government Entities Working Group was established. The group aims to improve the government client experience with the ATO and will focus on:

    • gaining insights into the issues faced by government entities when managing their tax and superannuation affairs
    • identifying opportunities to make it easier for government entities to comply with their tax and superannuation obligations
    • considering current and emerging issues around tax administration and law for government entities
    • finding solutions to issues raised to improve the government client experience
    • consulting and working collaboratively on new ATO initiatives for government entities
    • sharing key ATO messages with the government sector.

    The four project groups under the Supporting the Tax Profession Working Group continued to meet and the topics discussed included:

    • flexible and adaptable processes for both the ATO and the tax profession, working towards developing a short-term rapid response framework
    • improving access to information and understanding communication preferences of agents to provide timely, relevant and accurate information that improves confidence and compliance
    • changing roles and mental health support within the tax profession
    • developing support for the community and profession in times of crisis.

    The Changing roles and mental health project group held its final meeting. Members of this project group will join with other project groups to ensure a mental health focus is included in discussions on the other key focus areas.

    Stakeholder relationship groups

    The Superannuation Data Standard Technical GroupExternal Link met and the topics discussed included:

    • progress with SuperMatch and the reconnection process
    • Rollover V3 update and upcoming consultation for the conformance suite
    • endorsement of moving Release Authority Product Type Codes from the Rollover Taxonomy into the SBR validation rules
    • New Payments Platform working groups updates.

    The Tax Profession Digital Implementation Group met and the topics discussed included:

    • communication preferences
    • draft Tax Professionals Digital Services Strategy
    • myGovID and RAM post implementation
    • enhanced prefill for Tax Time 2021
    • Modernising Customer Verification.
    Last modified: 09 Dec 2020QC 43732