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  • 16 November 2018

    The Tax Practitioner Stewardship Group meeting was held on Friday 16 November 2018.

    The topics discussed are outlined below to assist professional associations to communicate key messages to members.

    Australian Business Number Reform

    The Black Economy Taskforce’s final report to the GovernmentExternal Link made a number of findings and recommendations in relation to the Australian Business Number (ABN) system.

    The public consultation phaseExternal Link for ABN Reform has closed with 180 submissions received. The ATO and the Treasury also held roundtables during August 2018 in Canberra, Melbourne and Sydney with key stakeholders. The consultation highlighted the lack of community understanding of lodgment requirements for ABN holders.

    At this meeting members discussed ways of increasing their client’s understanding of entitlement to hold an ABN, the requirement to lodge income tax returns and a potential renewal process.

    The Modernising Business Registers Program is continuing to engage with industry groups and the community around the future of the Program, and to develop options to implement the Director Identification Number. Treasury released the draft Modernising Business Registers Program is and Director Identification Number legislation for public consultation on 1 October. Submissions closed on 26 October 2018.

    On 25 October 2018, Assistant Treasurer, the Hon Stuart Robert MP and New Zealand Minister for Small Business, the Hon Stuart Nash MP met in a ceremony at Parliament House to sign the Australia and New Zealand Government Electronic Invoicing Arrangement. Adoption of e-Invoicing will reduce payment times and deliver efficiencies for small businesses. Tax practitioners will be key influencers in driving the adoption of e-Invoicing.

    Taxable Payments Reporting

    On 3 October 2018, legislation to extend the taxable payments reporting system to cleaners and couriers received Royal Assent. This legislation is retrospective beginning 1 July 2018, and covers the provision of these services by businesses using contractors; even if businesses do not identify themselves as industry participants.

    If your clients provide cleaning or courier services, even if it's only part of the services provided, they now need to lodge a taxable payments annual report each year to tell us about their payments to contractors and subcontractors that provide cleaning or courier services on their behalf. It is important that businesses are keeping records of their contractor payments now.

    Your clients will need to lodge a taxable payments annual report by 28 August 2019 for payments made to contractors between 1 July 2018 and 30 June 2019.

    Measurement of the attributable impacts of the taxable payments reporting system on the building and construction industry over the first four years of its introduction showed tremendous success in bringing participants back into the tax system, increasing lodgment of income tax returns by contractors, and substantial overall improvement in the amount of tax reported by this industry.  

    As part of the 2018 Federal Budget announcement expanding the reporting system to Information Technology (IT), road freight and security industries, an online taxable payments annual report form was also announced. The form will provide further functionality expanding the service offering, for example the ability for tax and BAS agents to see client taxable payments annual report lodgment history. This form will be made available to individuals in business via MyTax initially, then progressively being made available in the Business Portal, Online Services for agents, and third party software.  

    To find out more and to access resources to help your clients understand the new reporting requirement, visit

    Digital communications

    The ATO issues approximately 57 million pieces of paper correspondence each year and continues to focus on moving to a solution to support the digitisation of correspondence based on client preferences.

    Digital communication solutions will occur in a phased approach over 2019 and 2020 with a significant majority of communications being available digitally when initially deployed. The first phase will deliver an agent inbox and communication preferencing for digitally-enabled correspondence for individual clients. The digital inbox will be available in Online Services for agents on the homepage.

    The preferencing feature will offer a service that gives the flexibility to update client’s preferred address for service for ATO communications. If an agent sets communication preferences to receive communications on behalf of a client, the ATO will send a digital notification directly to the agent via the new secure inbox, from which the agent will be able to retrieve the correspondence digitally. Clients and agents will both continue to be able to see all digital-enabled correspondence regardless of who receives the notification.

    The second phase will expand to digitally-enabled correspondence for non-individual clients, and will transform more paper based correspondence into digital communications. In phase three the balance of what is paper correspondence can be preferenced and the correspondence reflects where it is delivered.

    The ATO has been continuing to co-design with the tax practitioner community, seeking feedback on content, functionality and legal aspects. An initial test of the solution is proposed for late 2018 with further testing proposed for March and April 2019.

    More information and links

    Super guarantee client health check

    You can use our super health check form to help your employer clients understand their super guarantee obligations.

    A new resource, Small business motor vehicle expensesExternal Link has been added to the Tax Time Toolkit. Take a look and share it with your small business clients.

    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.

      Last modified: 27 Mar 2019QC 27350