• Tax Time update – 11 July 2017

    Table 1: Tax returns received – Year to date (overall), current year 2017

    Lodgment – Type and channel

    Overall year to date returns received as at 10 July 2017

    Current year returns received as at 10 July 2017

    Comparison – Current year returns received as at 10 July 2016

    Individual – Electronic

    670,057

    584,973

    492,900

    Individual – Paper

    334

    19

    4,841

    Non-individual – Electronic

    37,581

    7,201

    6,310

    Non-individual – Paper

    141

    56

    262

    Self-preparer – myTax

    415,012

    392,354

    317,990

    Tax practitioner – Practitioner Lodgment Service (PLS)

    76,357

    46,598

    6,635

    Tax practitioner – Electronic Lodgment Service (ELS)

    209,490

    146,558

    163,793

    Table 2 – Electronic returns received

    Summary

    Overall year to date returns received as at 10 July 2017

    Current year returns received as at 10 July 2017

    Comparison – current year returns received as at 10 July 2016

    Individual

    670,057

    584,973

    492,900

    Non-Individual

    37,581

    7,201

    6,310

    Total electronic

    707,638

    592,174

    499,210

    Table 3 – Paper returns received

    Summary

    Overall year to date returns received as at 10 July 2017

    Current year returns received as at 10 July 2017

    Comparison – current year returns received as at 10 July 2016

    Individual

    334

    19

    4,841

    Non-Individual

    141

    56

    262

    Total paper

    475

    75

    5,103

    Tax refunds – Current year as at 10 July 2017

    Refunds issued

    91,557

    Refunds issued ($m)

    528

    Average refund ($)

    5,771

    Telephony service standard performance as at close of business 10 July 2017

    From 1 July 2017 we have received approximately 236,236 inbound calls to general queues and 37,230 to tax practitioner queues and achieved service commitments of:

    • General taxpayer calls – 80% (YTD) of calls are answered within 5 minutes
    • Tax practitioner calls – 89% (YTD) of calls are answered within 2 minutes

    Latest contact centre reports show an average wait time of 28 seconds and an average handle time of 748 seconds in the tax practitioner queues.

    Working Holiday Makers and Payment Summaries

    New arrangements came into place from 1 January 2017 for employers of working holiday makers. For the 2017 year, employers will need to issue two payment summaries to a working holiday maker who is employed before 1 January and after 31 December. This is to ensure that the working holiday maker pays the right amount of tax on their working holiday maker income.

    Where the employer issues a payment summary for income earned from 1 January 2017 they will need to include a code H on that payment summary. Code H indicates that it is working holiday maker income. All employers are required to use the new code if they have employed a working holiday maker from 1 January, irrespective of whether they have registered with the ATO. If you know that the income was derived on or after 1 January 2017 and there is no code H on the payment summary you should ensure that a code H is placed at the appropriate place at Income 1 on the income tax return.

    If an employer has only provided the one payment summary for income derived from both pre and post 1 January 2017 you should work with your client to determine the amounts to be apportioned to each period and show the two amounts on the income tax return. The post 1 January income will need to display the code H.

    You will also need to show the net working holiday maker income at the new A4 label.

    Work related expenses

    The ATO has a wide range of strategies in place to deal with risks relating to individuals over-claiming their work-related expenses. For instance we provide various forms of assistance and have extensive guidance and support material on our website that we promote via the media to help make it as simple as possible for people to get their claims right. This tax time we are reminding people to:

    • declare all your income
    • don’t claim a deduction when you didn’t spend the money
    • don’t claim a deduction for private expenses, and
    • keep records to prove your claims.

    We facilitate self-regulation by making it as easy as possible for individuals to comply by providing tools such as myDeductions and incorporating nudge messages into both agent and self-prepared returns. For example, the Tax Agent Portal pre-filling service now provides tax agents with work-related expense messages indicating if their clients have made unusual claims last year.

    We utilise more sophisticated risk models to scrutinise every tax return and identify individuals and tax agents making higher than expected work-related expense claims. While a larger than usual claim might be legitimate, it may cause us to ask questions as part of our pre or post issue compliance program.

    We also have a pilot underway where we are sharing the outcome of these risk models with tax agents to encourage them to review their clients’ claims and to ensure they are correct and accurate.

    For agents that we consider to exhibit reckless and/or egregious behaviour we review their business practices, their own affairs and the tax affairs of their clients to maintain a level playing field for those agents who seek to do the right thing.

    Continue to work closely with professional associations and the Tax Practitioners Board (TPB) in building capability of tax practitioners and improving their return preparation practices.

    Portal services

    If practitioners experience difficulties in the Tax Agent Portal check Troubleshooting for businesses and tax practitioners. Problems that occur are identified on this page and updates on workarounds and resolutions are updated quickly and frequently.

    If practitioners continue to have issues they should contact the helpdesk on 13 72 86 Fast Key Code 3 3.

    Tips and links

    You can subscribe to receive daily email updates from the ATO.

    The easiest way to pay the ATO is with BPAY and credit card. Other payment options are available including direct credit or direct debit, mail or in person at Australia Post.

    Next meeting

    The next meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, 18 July 2017 commencing at 11:00am (AEST).

    Last modified: 13 Jul 2017QC 52895