BAS Agent Association Group key messages 9 June 2022
Welcome and introduction
Co-chair Assistant Commissioner Kath Anderson welcomed members, confirmed there were no variations to the meeting papers issued on 6 June 2022 and asked that any conflicts of interest be declared; none declared.
Members were reminded of the confidentiality of discussions held in the meeting.
Co-chair Kerrie Jarius welcomed and introduced potential new member Michele Grisdale as a guest to the meeting.
Members were reminded to forward nominations for potential new members from the BAS agent community to Kerrie Jarius or the secretariat.
Online services for agents
Director Katrena Cawthorne provided an update on what is new in Online services for agents. Members discussed current issues and irritants.
A summary of every major deployment of what is new is published on the Key Changes page on ato.gov.au. All services are listed therefore BAS agents may not have access to all changes.
Since September 2021 the ATO have:
- changed the name of the ‘Commonwealth Procurement Statement’ to ‘Statement of Tax Record’ with additional functionality to support consolidated group reporting
- increased the capability of the advance search function to allow 10,000 clients to be downloaded via CSV or HTML
- replaced the Excise and Resource Rent Tax accounts with two new menu items
- excise account
- resource rent account
- exposed the GST Director Penalty Account in Accounts Summary
- introduced new client forms for
- fuel tax credit (non-GST) - allowing registering and claiming in online services for agents
- product stewardship for oil
- introduced Reported Transactions as a new pre-generated report in the Client Reports menu for
- business transactions through payment systems
- government grants
- taxable grants
- Changed the on-demand report for activity statements providing additional columns of data providing a more comprehensive view of your clients lodgment and payment obligations
- similar changes brought in for IT version
- additional Practice Mail topic and subjects.
On demand outstanding Activity Statement Lodgment Report
The report will now display one activity statement requiring action per line. As a result, a client may have multiple lines on the report.
Will display activity statement forms N, R, S or T as outstanding or new until the due date has passed, even if payment has already been made. These activity statements do not need to be lodged unless there are variations to the pre-calculated amounts.
Provides BAS agents with visibility of all their clients with an activity statement obligation where the BAS agent is authorised at the Integrated Client or GST Joint Venture account level.
New fields include:
- Registered agent number (RAN), we are aware of some problems with the RAN - see the troubleshooting page
- Withholding payer number (WPN), see troubleshooting - returning the RAN instead of the WPN
- Delivery channel
- Activity statement frequency
- Pay as you go (PAYG) and/or GST instalment Amounts Forms RS&T
- Account balance
- Email address and postal address.
- Members would like this segment to include a summary of what is planned for online services for agents in the future.
ATO responded that we have taken onboard the intent of what members want within this segment and will adjust content and presentation for future meetings. A road map is currently being prepared and will be provided to the BAS Agent Association Group for co-design prior to being finalised.
- Member commented providing this opportunity to co design will provide goodwill for the ATO from the practitioner community.
- Member asked if it is possible, to have a Single Touch Payroll (STP) on demand report showing at what stage of STP implementation a BAS agents clients are.
- A member who is also a member of the STP Phase 2 Advisory Group stated they have been advised in that group that reporting the status of STP Phase 2 quarterly is not sufficient.
The ATO will consider if a STP on demand report showing at what stage of STP implementation a BAS agent’s clients are at can be introduced.
Tax practitioner assistance
Director Felix Manero provided an update on the Tax practitioner assistance (TPA) service. This service was previously known as complex issues resolution.
The service is not designed to be the first contact an agent makes with the ATO on the issue you wish to resolve. The TPA service is available to help resolve certain matters you have been unable to resolve through existing channels.
- Professional associations are recommending the use of the TPA service.
- BAS agents are time poor and having a double up on filling in personal details to lodge can be a blocker.
- The direction the TPA service is going in, is excellent.
- The Forms and Communications tab on online services for agents should include a TPA service drop down option link, this would facilitate usage of the service.
- Online lodgment with prefilled agent information is ideal as we can submit detail in writing and get a response in writing.
- A member stated the TPA service is a wonderful service.
ATO responded that the feedback is appreciated and will review to continue to streamline the service.
The ATO will consider if a TPA drop down option can be implemented in online service for agents.
Lodgment Program Review Working Group
Assistant Commissioner Kath Anderson provided an update on the Lodgment Program Review Working Groups progress.
The Lodgment Program Review Working Group now has 3 main group components.
Focus group 1 – Lodgment and payment pressure points
The group’s objective is to consider what can be done to relieve pressure on agents caused by due dates.
Focus group 2 –- Exceptions, deferrals
Regardless of the dates, there will always be exceptions. This group is considering what constitutes exceptional circumstances and what the right support is.
Focus group 3 – Access to the program, performance and management
This group is considering how to manage the lodgment program more broadly.
Members thanked the ATO for including BAS agents and providing BAS agents the opportunity to explain to the ATO additional obligations BAS agents are required to maintain.
Lodge and Pay
Assistant Commissioner Les De Wind provided an update on the enforcement activities currently undertaken. The ATO enforcement action is becoming more visible in the media. We continue to provide support and assistance to clients that engage with us.
Firmer action is being applied where clients do not engage with the ATO. This includes garnishees, recovery of director penalties, disclosure of business tax debts, and legal action including summons, creditors petition, wind-up, and insolvency action.
- It would be helpful to understand what parameters the ATO will accept for payment arrangements.
ATO responded we understand every client has different circumstances, the approach taken is to ensure we take each clients circumstances into account.
- Member commented, credit to the ATO team for asking appropriate questions and assisting with implementing payment plans.
Tax practitioners board
Assistant Commissioner Tax practitioners board (TPB) Michael O’Neill provided an update.
A written report of TPB activities was provided to members with the meeting papers
The TPB will continue to work closely with Treasury and the new Minister to progress the reforms arising from the Keith James Review into the Tax Agent Services Act 2009 and the TPB.
In light of the ongoing impacts of COVID-19, the following concessions have been extended until 31 December 2022:
- Annual declaration concession for tax practitioners
- Continued professional education (no cap on private reading) concession
- Continued professional education (activities accepted) concession
- Alternative assessments for courses approved by the Board.
The Education working group is making progress looking at what the future needs of the profession are.
The TPB has a focus on ATO 'safe harbour' referrals and unregistered advisers matters.
Co-chairs Kath Anderson and Kerrie Jarius facilitated a group discussion for members to identify items that are impacting the profession.
- BAS agents are understaffed and have time pressures.
- Beginning to see an accumulation of client debts as a result of the last 2 years flow on effect from COVID-19.
- Clients are keeping up with their ATO obligations.
- Recovery will be longer than initially thought, it will take many years for business to recover from the last few years.
Director Corey Lewis provided an update on what communication and visibility was available for myGovID and Relationship Authorisation Manager (RAM) availability.
Planned system outages are required at times to continue to implement improvements. These system outages are typically communicated well in advance.
The ATO actively tries to ensure there is minimal disruption to business operations for users.
For 2022 year to date there have been 3 planned myGovID outages delivering a range of improvements to the app and our support tools to support users who have become locked out of their account.
Messaging is placed on the ATO, myGovID and RAM websites, where required.
An in app message is also developed to communicate an upcoming change.
Outage messages are available approximately 6 weeks before an outage or as soon as the outage has been confirmed.
The ATO also notifies the Interim Oversight Authority (IOA) who is responsible for notifying government agencies that use myGovID and RAM to access their online services. This is to enable the other agencies to inform their clients of the planned outage, if required.
Are communicated as soon as possible.
When an unplanned outage is reported:
- Messaging is developed and placed on the ATO, myGovID and RAM websites, where required, depending on the potential duration of the outage.
- The IOA is contacted within 30 minutes of the outage to enable notification to government agencies using myGovID and RAM.
- An in-app message is published in the myGovID app, where possible and appropriate.
The following dashboards can be accessed at any time and use real time data to advise if all is functioning normally or if experiencing any issues:
Removal of the $450 eligibility threshold for super guarantee
Assistant Commissioner Sonia Corsini and Director Julie Rowland provided an update on the removal of the $450 threshold for super guarantee eligibility.
From 1 July 2022, employees who earn less than $450, before tax will now be eligible to receive super guarantee.
If an employee meets the other eligibility requirements, employers must pay them super guarantee, regardless of how much they earn.
Employees who are under 18 years of age still need to work more than 30 hours in a week to be eligible for superannuation.
Employers will need to update their payroll and accounting systems for super payments made after 1 July 2022 to ensure they correctly calculate their employee’s super guarantee entitlement.
Members were provided with the ATO’s communication strategy and messaging for both employers and employees on this new measure. The communication campaign included 143,000 SMS messages, 610,000 emails and 217,000 letters with a 95% read rate of emails.
More information on the removal of the $450 eligibility threshold for super guarantee can be found at Work out if you have to pay super.
Professional associations have conducted a wide dissemination of the ATO’s communication campaign.
Other business and meeting close
Members were provided with written updates in the meeting papers for:
- STP, written update only
- Australian Business Registry Services strategic engagement, written update only
Thank you to members for their time and feedback.
Member thanked Co-chair Assistant Commissioner Kath Anderson for her efforts representing BAS agents, this was seconded by members.
Summary of key topics discussed at the BAS Agent Association Group meeting 9 June 2022.