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  • Tax Practitioner Stewardship Group special briefing 10 June 2020

    COVID-19

    Cash flow boost

    Assistant Commissioner Kasey Macfarlane provided a short update on the progress of cash flow boost payments. Over the last week we have processed a sizeable number of cash flow boost credits for those we have identified as eligible.

    We have issued notifications to taxpayers where we have determined that they are not eligible based on the information that we have. This could be due to having a backdated pay as you go role that was established after 12 March 2020, or where they have not lodged their income tax return by the due date and did not have a deferral in place.

    We are contacting clients in cases where we are seeking further information to confirm eligibility. There are several cases outstanding where we have not been able to contact the client by email, however they will be contacted through postal mail this week.

    Early release of superannuation

    Assistant Commissioner Sonia Corsini provided an update on the early release of superannuation measure. Following on from last week's update, we expect to provide the group with information and web content in relation to compliance and integrity work for early release of superannuation later this week.

    Payments to the Small Business Superannuation Clearing House (SBSCH) are recommended to be made by 23 June 2020 to meet the 30 June 2020 deadline. The practical compliance guide that was issued in draft last year has now been finalised and published. It states that provided the payment is received by the clearing house before 30 June in the relevant year, the Commissioner will not be applying compliance resources to determine the income year in which the deduction can be claimed. While that is the case, we still strongly encourage employers to try and meet the 23 June timeframe due to the flow on impacts that the timing of those payments can have on individual employees and their tax position.

    For further information please see Due date for SBSCH payments.

    Service delivery

    Assistant Commissioner Claire O’Neill provided a short update on Service Delivery activities. While Debt and Lodgment intervention activities are currently paused, we are trying to determine the right time to recommence engagement work. This may potentially recommence in June however it is more likely to be August or September.

    The focus of activities will be on assistance and support, reaching out to clients to see how they are, and to offer any help they may need. Interactions will not focus on consequence however we are conscious of the ‘September cliff’ where many deferrals are due in September. This is a common due date where debt is deferred across the economy. Staff resources are currently focused on answering inbound calls from clients requiring assistance with the various stimulus measures, and how to manage payment and lodgment obligations.

    Members highlighted that professional associations would like to be advised prior to engagement activities recommencing so that they can align their communication activities to ATO messaging.

    Our tax practitioner phone line is open from 8.00am to 8.00pm Monday to Friday. Although not open on the weekend, tax practitioners can phone our general lines, which are open in June from 10.00am to 4.00pm (AEST) on Saturday.

    Callers to the tax practitioner phone line should receive a message outside our operational hours, which refers callers to our contact us page for opening hours.

    Tax Practitioners Board

    Tax Practitioners Board (TPB) representative Debra Anderson provided a short update on TPB activities. The TPB is commencing campaigns for taxpayers using registered tax practitioners over the tax time period. This will be a social media campaign coordinated in conjunction with the ATO.

    Tax Time 2020 communications plan

    Assistant Commissioner Sally Bektas provided an update on the planned Tax Time 2020 communications. The key messages and communications approach for this year will focus on the impacts of COVID-19 and bushfires, work related expenses, changes to deductions, and different incomes; making sure we provide as much information as possible to help clients. Single Touch Payroll, communications preferencing and granular data will also be a focus this year. This year, more than ever, we are envisaging how we can work more closely together to maximise coverage and to get information to tax professionals, as well as provide visibility on what we are saying to maximise partnership.

    We have started developing tax time products, including a series of videos staring Assistant Commissioners Sylvia Gallagher and Trent Jakubowski. Our tag line for tax time this year is, '2020 has been difficult but your tax return doesn’t need to be’. We encourage everyone to have a look at our tax time essentials webpage if they have not already done so.

    Members reviewed and provided feedback on the ATO’s draft Tax Time 2020 Marketing and Communication overview. Further discussion on this will be held at the upcoming weekly tax time meetings.

    Tips and links

      Last modified: 30 Jun 2020QC 63077