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  • BAS Agent Association Group key messages 27 June 2019

    Welcome

    The BAS Agent Association Group (BASAAG) meeting was held via telepresence on Wednesday 27 June 2019.

    Superannuation Guarantee Integrity reforms

    Presenters: John Ford and Gavin Hayhurst ATO

    An update on the Super Guarantee (SG) Integrity Measures was provided. The law commenced on 1 April 2019 and is intended to improve the integrity and administration of SG through targeted reforms.

    The law will allow the Commissioner to:

    • direct an employer to undertake an approved course of education
    • remove the three month period before director penalties are ‘locked down’ in respect of unpaid SG liabilities
    • apply for a court order to compel entities to comply with a requirement to give a security deposit
    • direct an employer to pay an outstanding Super Guarantee Charge liability
    • inform employees and former employees of SG shortfalls identified or reasonably suspected.

    From 1 April 2019 an employer may be directed to undertake an approved course of education to improve their knowledge of their SG obligations. We have developed an SG employer obligations course and assessment that is now available free and online on the ATO website. A certificate is created on successful completion of the course assessment and from September the certificate will be automatically sent to the ATO. We encourage all employers to voluntarily complete the course so they can benefit from a greater understanding of their SG obligations and reduce the potential for future non-compliance.

    The measures enable greater visibility of unpaid SG entitlements for employees. From 1 April 2019 the ATO can inform all affected employees about an employer’s failure to comply with their SG obligations. Disclosures can be made to current and former employees for whom SG remains unpaid.

    For more information refer to:

    Tax Practitioners Board update

    Presenter: Michael O'Neill Tax Practitioners Board

    The Tax Practitioners Board (TPB) continues its statutory role in supporting the public by ensuring tax services are provided by the profession acting legally and ethically. The TPB recognises and appreciates that many practitioners do the right thing and provide excellent service, assisting over 10 million Australian taxpayers to meet their various tax obligations annually. To ensure the public receive high quality tax services, the TPB has conducted a review of tax practitioners’ on-going development via their continuing professional education (CPE).

    The TPB is focused on making it easier for tax practitioners to comply with their registration and annual reporting obligations - through technological improvements to registrations systems, enhanced identity security, and expanded frontline support.

    The TPB will continue to maintain the integrity of the profession, targeting registered and unregistered tax practitioners that are not meeting appropriate standards of professional and ethical conduct. By addressing high-risk behaviour, the TPB protects and supports those practitioners who act with integrity.

    All practitioners and their respective associations need to be mindful of registration renewal and annual declaration requirements and timeframes to ensure that practitioner services to clients are not disrupted. Non lodgment of annual declarations by the due date may result in a sanction, including suspension or termination of registration.

    To successfully complete proof of identity when lodging a new application or an annual declaration using the online proof of identity process, practitioners should ensure:

    • the name on their legal document(s) is the same as the name they used to register with the TPB or the name they are applying to register under
    • enter the information exactly as it appears on their legal document(s) eg only include a middle initial if it is on the legal document
    • any name changes or corrections required to the legal document or registration names are made as early as possible to ensure the annual declaration can be completed on time.

    Online services for agents

    Presenters: Andrew Watson and Nimali Abeygunasekara ATO

    Online services for agents has been the default service for BAS agents as of 28 May 2019 with the removal of the beta tag. This has given rise to a noticeable increase in BAS agents using Online services for agents as their default service, overtaking BAS agent portal usage.

    Feedback received to date has generally been positive. The ATO encourages BAS agents to continue providing feedback.

    BAS agents will continue to have access to the existing BAS agent portal. A decision on the date to decommission the existing BAS agent portal has not been made.

    BAS Time Toolkit

    Presenters: Robert Kwan, Hayden Breen, Kim-Sherrie Harper ATO

    The objective in designing the BAS Time Toolkit products is to help small business reduce the number of common errors on BAS. The ATO will engage with businesses and intermediaries to co-design and develop a suite of easy-to-understand and readily accessible information that will help to reduce the occurrence of errors. Making it easier for small business to get their BAS right and potentially reduce the number of errors made on the BAS.

    The BAS Tax Time Toolkit:

    • can be used by tax professionals to educate and support their clients
    • has potential to reduce the number of errors made on the BAS
    • has plain English products that are easy to understand and readily accessible.

    Contact your professional association if you would like to be a part of further conversations regarding the BAS time toolkit.

    Single Touch Payroll

    Presenter: Angela Lehmann ATO

    Single Touch Payroll (STP) changes the way employers report their employees' tax and super information to the ATO. Employers are required to report payments such as salaries and wages, pay as you go (PAYG) withholding and super information directly from their payroll solution at the same time they pay their employees.

    This tax time, many of your clients will experience a change to the way they report and receive information:

    • Employers who are reporting through STP are no longer required to provide their employee with a payment summary for amounts that have been reported and finalised through STP.
    • Instead of providing a payment summary and lodging a Payment summary annual report, employers need to submit a ‘Finalisation Declaration’ through an STP-enabled solution.
    • Employers who started reporting through the 2017-18 financial year will have up until 31 July 2019 to make this declaration, the finalisation declaration due date will revert back to 14 July in 2020.
    • Around five million employees are already having their data provided through STP. This could be up to nine million employees by 30 June 2019, many of whom won’t receive a payment summary for the first time.
    • A major change for this Tax Time is the display of finalised and un-finalised data reported through STP in myTax, the practitioner lodgment service (PLS) and tax agent (TAPS) reports, in addition to new information displayed through ATO Online such as Member Account Transaction Service (MATS) data.
    • Individuals can lodge their tax return from 1 July with un-finalised data ie not ‘tax ready’.
    • An employer needs to finalise this information for it to become ‘Tax Ready’.
    • Employers are encouraged to finalise as soon as their employee’s information is ready.

    STP started on 1 July 2018 for employers with 20 or more employees. From 1 July 2019 legislation was passed to extend STP reporting to all employers. Employers will need to determine when they need to start reporting from one of the following options:

    • Start reporting early.
    • Start reporting any time from 1 July – 30 September 2019.
    • Apply for more time to get ready, if needed.

    If an employer has four or less employees (micro employer) and doesn’t currently use payroll software, there will be other ways to report STP information.

    • No-cost and low-cost STP solutions for micro employers – including simple payroll software, mobile phone apps and portals (note this is not the Business or Tax agent portal). Refer to no cost or low cost register for available options.
    • Quarterly reporting until 30 June 2021 for employers with limited digital capability or who rely heavily on their registered agent. Registered Tax and BAS agents will be able to lodge quarterly on behalf of their clients through an STP enabled solution at the same time they lodge the BAS.

    There are flexible reporting options available for employers with closely held payees:

    • Twelve month exemption for the first financial year.
    • Quarterly reporting for closely held payees from 1 July 2020 after the exemption period, this will be due at the same time as the activity statement.
    • Employers will need to make reasonable estimates each quarter of the amounts paid to closely held payees. These methods are the same as the way the calculate pay as you go (PAYG) instalments.
    • If an employer chooses to report closely held payees quarterly, they will have up to the due date of their income tax return to finalise the information they’ve reported and make any adjustments.
    • Seasonal or intermittent employers will be able to report quarterly and then notify the ATO if they have no further requirement to report for the rest of the year.

    Small employers will need to start reporting or engage with the ATO before 30 September 2019:

    • Most payroll software providers are offering STP. If an employer is using accounting, payroll or business management software, they should talk to their provider to find out how they will offer STP, and what is required to update current software.
    • Employers are encouraged to start reporting early if they are able to and are STP ready.
    • Employers will have access to deferrals and exemptions where they are unable to report or they need additional time to start reporting, they can apply via the business portal or registered agents can do this via the Tax agent portal. Registered agents can apply for bulk deferrals.
    • Registered agent will be able to apply for quarterly reporting option through the Business Portal or Tax Agent Portal.

    For more information, refer to What Single Touch Payroll means for employees and News, events and resources.

    Taxable Payments Annual Report

    Presenter: Marcus Chew ATO

    The Taxable Payments Annual Report (TPAR) is now available in ATO Online services and the Business Portal, making it easier for businesses that need to lodge a report under the Taxable Payments Reporting System

    Benefits of lodging online include:

    • no longer need to lodge by paper (if they don’t have software that offers TPAR)
    • twenty payees can be entered on each TPAR and multiple TPAR can be lodged
    • amend lodged reports
    • due lodgments are listed on the for action screen and in lodgments
    • lodged reports are listed in lodgments - Taxable payments annual report - history.

    Businesses can still lodge using the paper form, however moving to the new TPAR online form will make lodgment quicker and provide validation and confirmation receipt. Businesses that have business software offering TPAR should continue to lodge online.

    Tax and BAS agents can access the TPAR online form via Online services for agents.

    For more information, refer to TPAR digital resources.

    Digital Identity

    Presenters: Claire Miller and Ben Avery ATO

    The way you access to our online services is changing as AUSkey is due to retire in March next year.

    myGovID and Relationship Authorisation Manager are set to offer an easy, secure and more flexible way for you to prove who you are when you access selected government online services.

    myGovID is a secure proof of identity app. Set it up once and use it to prove who you are when accessing government online services - like the 100 point ID check, but on your phone. Use your myGovID for both personal and business matters.

    Relationship Authorisation Manager (RAM) allows you to link your myGovID to an Australian business number (ABN). It lets you manage who can act on behalf of your organisation online.

    Together, myGovID and RAM will replace AUSkey (including Manage ABN Connections). You can continue to use AUSkey while you make the move to myGovID and RAM.

    In preparation for this change, check that your:

    Some eligible users can already opt to move to myGovID and RAM. See if you are eligible to try a new way to access government online services.

    More information

    Tax practitioners can obtain more information on these topics from the professional association representatives. Tax practitioners should contact their representative to contribute items for future discussions.

    Attendees

    Attendees are listed below.

    Organisation

    Members

    ATO

    Colin Walker (Chair), Individuals and Intermediaries

    ATO

    Sue Hassiotis (Secretariat), Individuals and Intermediaries

    ATO

    Andrew Watson, Small Business

    ATO

    Angela Lehmann, Superannuation and Employer Obligations

    ATO

    Ben Avery, Enterprise Solutions and Technology

    ATO

    Claire Miller, Enterprise Solutions and Technology

    ATO

    Gavin Hayhurst, Superannuation and Employer Obligations

    ATO

    Hayden Breen, Small Business

    ATO

    John Ford, Superannuation and Employer Obligations

    ATO

    Justine Williams, Small Business

    ATO

    Kim-Sherrie Harper, Small Business

    ATO

    Marcus Chew, Small Business

    ATO

    Nimali Abeygunasekara, Individuals and Intermediaries

    ATO

    Robert Kwan, Small Business

    Association of Accounting Technicians

    Rochelle Park

    Australian Bookkeepers Association Limited

    Kerrie Jarius

    Chartered Accountants Australia & New Zealand

    Martine Joly

    Institute of Certified Bookkeepers

    Matthew Addison

    Tax Practitioner

    Cate Kemp

    Tax Practitioner

    Darren McMahon

    Tax Practitioner

    John Birse

    Tax Practitioner

    Keith Clissold

    Tax Practitioner

    Suzy Komuczki

    Tax Practitioners Board

    Michael O'Neill

    Apologies

    Apologies are listed below.

    Organisation

    Members

    ATO

    Felix Manero, Individuals and Intermediaries

    ATO

    Renee Bruce, Individuals and Intermediaries

    Institute of Public Accountants

    Tony Greco

      Last modified: 08 Aug 2019QC 59849