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  • 23 August 2018

    The Professional Services Reference Group (PSRG) met via video-conference on Thursday 23 August 2018. Participants discussed the progress of the project sub-groups in implementing solutions to debt irritants.

    Visibility project

    • Agent members of the PSRG are now testing the debt process infographic with their clients. Pending outcomes from testing, the document is expected to be published around September 2018 and will include 2017/18 figures.
    • Members discussed debt communication activities that have occurred under the ATOTaxProfExecExternal Link Twitter account, and were invited to provide input and feedback. As at 13 August 2018 the account had 213 followers and is following 125 other accounts.

    Correspondence project

    • Agent members confirmed the five ATO letters which caused most irritation. As none of the letters are debt related, feedback has been provided to the responsible ATO business areas, and PSRG agents will be invited to be involved in future co-design activities for these letters.
    • The group discussed that debt correspondence is the only type of correspondence which the ATO will send directly to the client of an agent. The group asked that this process be reviewed by the Tax Practitioner Stewardship Group.

    Consistency project

    • The ATO is running a series of Panel discussions for ATO staff. They will hear from both a tax agent and a BAS agent about their experience and what is important to them. A beyondblue representative will also discuss mental health matters and share their personal experience. Panel discussions will be run at 18 different ATO offices during the months of September and October 2018.
    • Payment plan and defaulting – a co-design session with agents and the ATO will be convened to better understand what agents need to know and where and how the information should be presented.
    • A draft factsheet on hardship provisions has been created to assist ATO staff when speaking and dealing with taxpayers or their agents.

    More information and links

    Help is available for drought-affected taxpayers across regional, rural and metropolitan areas to manage their tax. Phone us on 1800 806 218 to discuss individual situations, or information is available on our website at www.ato.gov.au/drought.

    We have a range of support measures available to help drought-affected taxpayers who are having difficulties meeting their tax and super commitments. We can help with:

    • tailored payment plans with interest-free periods
    • more time to pay your tax
    • waiving penalties or interest you might incur during drought
    • various tax relief measures to help primary producers and small business operators.
      Last modified: 12 Sep 2018QC 54495