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  • Straight from the source – February 2022

    Happy New Year! Welcome to 2022 and my first blog for the year.

    I hope everyone has had time to relax, refresh and recharge. I returned from leave in late January tanned, refreshed and eager to embrace the opportunities and the year ahead.

    Like many families, we did experience a five-day COVID lockdown because of a New Year event my son attended. Thankfully PCR tests were negative, and we escaped to the Mornington Peninsula with the weather being truly exceptional. I read several books, binged multiple Netflix shows and caught up with family and friends who did not fall to COVID.

    In preparing for 2022, my team has been mapping our areas of focus and there will be lots of opportunities for us to engage with not-for-profit organisations and their representatives, making it an exciting year. Of the seven key strategic initiatives in the ATO’s corporate plan, four initiatives are driving the not-for-profit work program:

    • Optimising interactions through our self-service channels
    • Unlocking data potential
    • Embedding new ways of working, and
    • Focussing on what matters most.

    We will of course also leverage the remaining three initiatives to ensure not-for-profits are aware of:

    • how they can strengthen cyber security
    • what they can do to access Australian Business Registry Services, including director identification numbers, and
    • initiatives that improve small business tax performance and the opportunities they present for not-for-profit organisations.

    As we continue to emerge from the COVID pandemic, we are turning our mind to the transformation roadmap for not-for-profits. The intent is to work with stakeholders to shape an efficient and effective tax and superannuation system – one that supports not-for-profit clients to meet obligations and builds community confidence in the sector. The roadmap will lay out the specific projects and activities required to meet this objective. Some of the key work programs to be featured on the roadmap are listed below.

    Implementation of new measures

    Two NFP measures have already received Parliamentary/Treasury approval:

    A further three measures are in the pipeline with the legislation expected to be introduced in 2022:

    Advice and guidance

    We are committed to improving our advice and guidance channels and products we provide. We will continue to refresh guidance products by reviewing language making sure that examples are contemporary and easy to understand. In 2022, we are resuming our Refund of Franking Credits (REFC) project to streamline the application process and strengthen payment integrity. We are also close to finalising Draft Taxation Ruling TR2021/D6 which was published late last year for comment. Our guidance and products are key to optimising self-service.

    Stewardship Group refresh

    Over the last two years, our engagements with the NFP Stewardship Group have been invaluable. We’ve had lots of sector interest and we’re planning to announce a new membership cohort shortly. Together we will ensure we are focused on what matters most.

    Development of NFP governance guidelines

    From inception, the NFP Centre’s mantra has been supporting clients to:

    • understand and meet their obligations
    • ensure they operate for purpose, and
    • access the right concessions.

    This year we will be empowering clients to further review their operations with confidence. The development of tailored governance guidelines is about to ‘kick off’ and we will be working with the sector to develop a protype using system led design approaches.

    I could go on for a few more pages but I think you get the gist of it. We are in for an exciting new year; one filled with hope and promise for a sector that makes a real difference to the Australian community.

    I wanted to leave you with some inspiration to capture the essence of my dreams for 2022. After much googling I have landed with a few thoughts. Eleanor Roosevelt said that 'The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.' This ‘dream’ sentiment is also reflected in many cultures, including the Australian Aboriginal proverb 'Those who lose dreaming are lost.'

    So, with all that we have confronted, walk with us to develop the paths of the future – paths are made by walking and dreaming.

    Have a wonderful month.

    Jennifer

    Last modified: 04 Feb 2022QC 67813