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  • Individuals Stewardship Group key messages 25 August 2021

    Corporate plan

    The ATO corporate plan 2021–22 has been released with members notified. Members were invited to advise if there are any specific topics from the ATO corporate plan they would like to see presented to the Individuals Stewardship Group.

    Your Future, Your Super

    The YourSuper Comparison Tool was launched on 1 July 2021. The purpose of this tool is to provide transparency of relative super fund performance by comparing the 80 MySuper products available. Details of current and upcoming features were outlined.

    From 1 November 2021, if a new employee does not provide a valid super fund choice, the employer must request an ATO stapled super fund service to check if the employee has an existing super account.

    Tax time 2021

    Tax time is progressing well with over 5.74 million 2021 individual lodgments already having been lodged, which is a 2% increase compared with the same time last year.

    Over 4.47 million individual 2021 refunds have issued totalling $11.76 billion with an average refund of $2,626.

    COVID-19 disaster payments are not taxable. Legislation passed on 9 August to treat these payments as non-taxable and will retrospectively be applied to 2020–21 financial year COVID-19 payments.

    The ATO published a new scam alert in August to alert the community of a new phone scam impersonating the ATO or other government agency and demanding payment.

    Tax help

    With COVID-19 social distancing restrictions, Tax help has moved away from face to face services from community centres to mainly online and telephony support. Tax time 2021 has seen an increased uptake and challenges have included internet connectivity issues, community centre closures and reduced volunteer numbers.

    To address a significant support gap for remote Indigenous communities the ATO has engaged with other government agencies, not-for-profit and community organisations to develop a range of differentiated delivery strategies.

    Tax clinics

    The ATO is currently working with 10 universities which will be expanded to 14 universities. The service has moved to providing assistance through WebEx and Zoom. Topics addressed included taxation consequences of residency due to COVID-19 restrictions in leaving or entering Australia, business verves hobby and cryptocurrency.

    During the 2020–21 financial year nearly 10,000 hours of assistance was provided covering 1,200 individuals and 600 small business clients, including 30 clients in disputes with the ATO.

    Tax implications of the changing nature of work

    Discussion focussed on how work and career habits and patterns have changed, how they may change in the future and what the impacts are for the tax system.

    COVID-19 has led to more individuals working from home and it is unclear if this trend will continue in future. Technology and globalisation were driving changes in work patterns before the pandemic and impacts can be seen in housing and infrastructure design. People no longer expect a job for life and may have multiple careers over their lifetime. The changing nature of work will impact the tax system, for example, changes to work related expenses.

    The Productivity Commission is undertaking a broad study on what the long-term shift to working from home means for Australian firms, workers and for society more broadly.

    Australian Business Registry Services and director identification

    Director identification (director ID) is the first service to be delivered by the Australian Business Registry Service and requires Directors to verify their identity with appropriate identity documents and has a 1 November start date. Over 2.7 million individuals will require a director ID and the application process is currently in private beta testing, with public beta testing to occur in October 2021. Over 80 director ID numbers have been issued to date.

    For now, there is no change to how directors register, search and get registry extracts. Interactions with the Australian Business Registry and Australian Securities and Investment Commission remain the same. Individuals must apply for their own director ID – agents cannot apply on behalf of clients. Individuals are encouraged to start preparing by applying for a myGovID.

    Director ID numbers will not be made public at this stage and consultation on data standards and the disclosure framework will be undertaken to determine what information will be disclosed.


    Attendees list




    Hoa Wood (Chair), Individuals and Intermediaries


    Lloyd Williams, Individuals and Intermediaries


    Tim Loh, Individuals and Intermediaries

    AMES Australia

    Teresita Romero

    Australian Securities and Investment Commission

    Danny McCarthy

    Australian Shareholders Association Limited

    Eden Zanatta

    Federation of Ethnic Communities' Council of Australia

    Janecke Wille

    Financial Counselling Australia

    Carmel Franklin

    First Nations Foundation

    Phil Usher

    National Seniors Australia

    Craig Sullivan

    People with Disability Australia

    Samantha French

    Real Estate Institute of Australia

    Jock Kreitals

    Tax Clinic

    Connie Vitale


    Bede Fraser

    Guest attendees

    Guest attendees list




    Blair Lauchlan, Superannuation and Employer Obligations


    Darryl McCarthy, Individuals and Intermediaries


    Karin Piko, Individuals and Intermediaries


    Katie Constance, Superannuation and Employer Obligations


    Leigh McCarthy, Review and Dispute Resolution


    Martin Jacobs, Australian Business Registry Services


    Rob Hayes, Australian Business Registry Services

    Services Australia

    Chris Birrer


    Apologies list




    Kerry O'Loghlin, Individuals and Intermediaries


    Reece Parry, Superannuation and Employer Obligations

      Last modified: 25 Oct 2021QC 67189