Show download pdf controls
  • Tax Practitioner Stewardship Group key messages 28 August 2020


    Deputy Commissioner James O’Halloran provided an update on the JobKeeper program and the extension of the JobKeeper payment.

    Changes to JobKeeper will allow for new eligible employees to be added from 1 July 2020 with declaration forms available in September.

    JobKeeper is meeting the policy intent and is getting the balance right around eligibility. Currently applications requiring a review are less than 2% with a low volume of objections, mainly around eligibility issues.

    The ATO is awaiting final rules from government to be able to provide clarification on the next phase of JobKeeper. The ATO will have the lawful authority to share information to support the Fair Work Ombudsman and the Fair Work Commissioner to carry out their jurisdictional matters under the Fair Work Act once royal ascent is received.

    The ATO will provide greater visibility for tax practitioners in the next phase of JobKeeper by:

    • pre-emptive form screen shots and guides that will be made available on
    • presenting as much information as possible for GST registered clients
    • providing visibility of the alternative test
    • providing personalised screens – pre-fill information cannot be overridden however employers can choose to use the alternative information provided
    • error code messaging providing additional information
    • advice and guidance material and info graphics will be made available to help provide clarity
    • around working with government regarding the impact on lodgment programs.

    The ATO confirmed that a 2019 business activity statement (BAS) must be lodged to be eligible to claim, however clients should be encouraged to lodge their 2020 BAS. This will allow for streamlining of information and risk process, reducing the risk of audit. Rules for the alternative test have not changed regarding the Commissioner’s discretion.

    ATO Debt and lodgment

    Deputy Commissioner Vivek Chaudhary provided an update about the ATO’s plans for recommencing post COVID-19 engagement with taxpayers with outstanding payment and or lodgment obligations.

    The ATO recognises that there have been significant impacts on clients from the effect of the bushfires followed by COVID-19. As a result, the ATO temporarily paused all outbound firmer debt actions. It is important that taxpayers do not disregard their tax obligations or lose touch with the tax system. The ATO will take both a tailored and targeted approach towards all outbound taxpayer engagement through a three-phased strategy.

    The ATO will work with taxpayers to determine what support may best suit their circumstances and provide any assistance required in a timely manner. Taxpayers are encouraged to contact the ATO to discuss options such as a deferral of due dates and payment plans.

    Feedback from the first phase of the re-engagement approach has been very positive, with a better than usual engagement experience.

    The ATO will continue to monitor the situation and work with taxpayers and tax practitioners to ensure our approach is aligned with expectations.

    Small business

    Assistant Commissioner Andrew Watson provided an update on the current beta for the cash flow coaching kit (the kit). The digital kit has been updated with a new contemporary layout and improvements in its functionality and accessibility in readiness for its full release later this year.

    The kit is uniquely positioned as a resource for tax professionals to assist their small business clients to take action to manage their cash flow. The kit can be used at any stage of the business lifecycle and particularly in times of financial stress.

    The ATO is currently working with 700 beta users who have access to the digital kit and welcomes more trusted advisors to join the beta user group. The ATO provides tax professionals with a short webinar on the beta digital kit before they access it.

    Members provided positive feedback on the design and layout of the kit.

    Latest news and resources, including how to register for a webinar to access the beta digital kit, is on the cash flow coaching kit webpage.

    The ATO will continue to work with and through professional associations to increase awareness and take-up of the kit and join the beta digital kit user group.

    Super guarantee amnesty

    Assistant Commissioners Kasey Macfarlane and Jenny Lin provided an update on the proposed approach to Part 7 penalty remissions coming into effect from 8 September 2020.

    The ATO has issued communications reminding employers that the super guarantee amnesty ends on 7 September 2020. There is no discretion available to extend this date due to legislation.

    Businesses who have registered and have a payment reference number are encouraged to pay before 7 September 2020 as only payments received before this date are tax deductible.

    From 8 September 2020, the Commissioner’s ability to remit the Part 7 penalty will be legislatively restricted where an employer does not voluntarily disclose their super guarantee shortfalls for any period covered by the super guarantee amnesty. Unless there are exceptional circumstances, the Part 7 penalty amount cannot be remitted below 100% of the super guarantee charge. Voluntary disclosures can be lodged after the end of the amnesty.

    The ATO will not be applying a blanket exception for remissions as a result of COVID-19. Exceptional circumstances will be considered on an individual basis.

    The ATO is proactively reaching out to employers who have lodged an amnesty form and have not paid or entered into a payment arrangement. Employers have until 7 September 2020 to disclose, lodge and pay, to maintain eligibility.

    Tax Practitioners Board update

    The Tax Practitioners Board (TPB) Corporate Plan 2020–21 has been released and is available on the TPB websiteThis link will download a file (PDF 1.21MB)This link will download a file.

    Tax practitioners are encouraged to renew their registration on time. An SMS reminder will issue on the 25th of each month for practitioners with an upcoming renewal.

    The TPB is taking an ongoing pro-active focus on tax practitioners’ personal tax compliance obligations and this will now be considered in the renewal and registration process.

    The TPB will also focus on supervising agent to client ratios, particularly in context where registered tax practitioners hold multiple supervising roles.

    Due to the ongoing COVID-19 circumstances, the TPB has extended the concessions regarding assessment arrangements for TPB approved courses for the remainder of the calendar year.

    The schedule of upcoming TPB webinars are now available on the TPB websiteExternal Link. All previous TPB webinar recordings can be accessed on the YouTube channelExternal Link.

    Stewardship group governance

    Tax Practitioner Stewardship Group (TPSG) Charter update

    The ATO has developed a standardised charter that encompasses all Stewardship Groups to ensure consistency of operations across the groups. Members provided positive feedback on the charter.

    Membership refresh

    There is a Governance requirement for a membership refresh as per the TPSG Charter. This will be progressed early in 2021.

    The ATO recognises the valuable contribution members make in sharing their experiences, thoughts and concerns on various topics and issues. It was highlighted that there will be ongoing opportunities for departing members to contribute through various consultation groups.

    Confidentially discussion

    Members supported a confidentiality agreement within the TPSG. They agreed on the importance of having an overarching understanding that confidentiality is essential for robust and difficult conversations, but also highlighted the need to understand confidentiality boundaries – confidential items in agendas or discussions must be clearly identified.

    While some discussion held in TPSG meetings is confidential, the key messages published on are a consolidation of the discussion held in these meetings; the key messages can be distributed further.

    Other business and meeting close

    Tax profession support strategy

    Following on from the discussion on how the ATO can better support the tax profession, the ATO, through the Supporting the Tax Profession Working Group, developed some case studies and scenarios. The purpose of these scenarios was to identify issues and opportunities where the ATO and professional associations could provide assistance and support to members of the tax profession.

    It was clear that by partnering with the profession, the ATO can understand better ways of working together when disasters hit. This also gives us an opportunity to provide a coordinated response by utilising the tax profession network more effectively.

    Some key challenge areas were identified. The ATO is looking at ways of providing support long term through a consultation framework.

    It was agreed to form a number of smaller project groups to review and progress each area in more detail. The next steps for each project group will include determining the key deliverables and timeline for progressing.

    Meeting close

    Chairperson Deputy Commissioner Hoa Wood thanked members for their ongoing valued contribution and feedback.

    The weekly tax time and COVID-19 meetings will continue as scheduled.

    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 list




    Hoa Wood (Co-chair), Individuals and Intermediaries


    Alex Adams, Enterprise Solutions and Technology


    Andrew Watson, Small Business


    Audra Paskevicius (Secretariat), Individuals and Intermediaries


    Grant Brodie, Client Account Services


    Jackie Hayward, Individuals and Intermediaries


    James O'Halloran, Economic Stimulus Branch


    Jennifer Madigan, Superannuation and Employer Obligations


    Jenny Lin, Superannuation and Employer Obligations


    Kasey Macfarlane, Private Wealth


    Lorelie Roe, Small Business


    Michelle Wenzel, Small Business


    Robyn Kelly, Enterprise Strategy and Design


    Siobhan Spencer-Arnell (Secretariat), Individuals and Intermediaries


    Sylvia Gallagher, Individuals and Intermediaries


    Vivek Chaudhary, Debt and Lodgment

    Australian Bookkeepers Association

    Peter Thorp

    Chartered Accountants Australia and New Zealand

    Michael Croker

    CPA Australia

    Elinor Kasapidis

    H&R Block

    Mark Chapman

    Income Tax Professionals

    Scott Bailey

    Institute of Certified Bookkeepers

    Matthew Addison (Co-chair)

    Institute of Public Accountants

    Irwin Bushnell

    National Tax and Accountants Association

    Rodney Wilson

    Tax & Super Australia

    Neville Birthisel

    Tax practitioner

    Gavin Swan

    Tax practitioner

    Keith Clissold

    Tax practitioner

    Ken Thomas

    Tax practitioner

    Mark Morris

    Tax practitioner

    Phil McCann

    Tax practitioner

    Shanna Hunter

    Tax practitioner

    Steven Inglis

    Tax practitioner

    Warren Seeto

    Tax Practitioners Board

    Debra Anderson

    The Tax Institute

    Robyn Jacobson


    Apologies list.




    John Ford, Superannuation and Employer Obligations


    Kath Anderson, Individuals and Intermediaries


    Kirsten Fish, Small Business


    Michelle Crosby, Commonwealth Business Registry Service

    Institute of Public Accountants

    Tony Greco

    Tax & Super Australia

    John Jeffreys

      Last modified: 10 Feb 2021QC 64673