• Tax Time update – 25 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 24 July 2017

    Current year returns received as at 24 July 2017

    Comparison – Current year returns received as at 24 July 2016

    Individual

    Electronic

    2,499,330

    2,265,942

    2,044,177

    Paper

    17,773

    11,935

    22,021

    Non-individual

    Electronic

    95,892

    29,142

    27,154

    Paper

    2,391

    1,186

    2,304

    Self-preparer

    myTax

    1,249,665

    1,176,753

    993,664

    Tax practitioner

    Practitioner Lodgment Service (PLS)

    403,275

    336,721

    44,006

    Electronic Lodgment Service (ELS)

    930,488

    770,014

    1,016,971

     

    Summary

    Overall year to date returns received as at 24 July 2017

    Current year returns received as at 24 July 2017

    Comparison – current year returns received as at 24 July 2016

    Electronic returns received

    Individual

    2,499,330

    2,265,942

    2,044,177

    Non-Individual

    95,892

    29,142

    27,154

    Total electronic

    2,595,222

    2,295,084

    2,071,331

    Paper returns received

    Individual

    17,773

    11,935

    22,021

    Non-Individual

    2,391

    1,186

    2,304

    Total paper

    20,164

    13,121

    24,325

    Tax refunds – Current year as at 24 July 2017

    Refunds issued     1,265,994

    Refunds issued ($m)  3,335

    Average refund ($)       2,635

    Telephony service standard performance as at close of business 24 July 2017

    From 1 July 2017 we have received approximately 657,552 inbound calls to general queues and 98,533 to tax practitioner queues and achieved service commitments of:

    • General taxpayer calls – 82% (YTD) of calls are answered within 5 minutes
    • Tax practitioner calls – 91% (YTD) of calls are answered within 2 minutes

    Latest contact centre reports show an average wait time of 29 seconds and an average handle time of 768 seconds in the tax practitioner queues.

    Educating the community about scams

    The ATO has an ongoing strategic communication approach to educate people on how to protect themselves against tax scams and identity theft, and to raise awareness on how people can reach the ATO and the support available should they become victims of a scam.

    In early 2017 the Be aware of what you share videoExternal Link and advertising campaign were highly successful. There were 8.6 million views of the advertisements, over 800,000 video views and 12,600 clicks on these advertisements. Findings from the campaign are now being used to inform the future strategic approach to scams and identity protection communications. The ATO continues to work with other government organisations to distribute key messages.

    The ATO maintains multiple web pages on scams ranging from identity security, protecting your information, and advice for tax practitioners, businesses and individuals. These pages have been viewed nearly 120 thousand times between January and June, with the most popular page being verify or report a scam.

    The ATO social media content warns followers about current scams in the community and advises people how to protect themselves and what to do if they suspect they’ve been affected. There have been seven Facebook posts on this topic so far this year and engagement with the posts has been high.

    A new postcard has been developed and has been widely distributed at community events in order to share key messages with vulnerable audiences who may not be reached by digital channels, advertising and social media.

    Major retailers, such as Woolworths, and financial institutions continue to integrate customer warning notices into their business to try to combat some of the most common scam payment methods including iTunes gift vouchers and direct transfer into fake “ATO” bank accounts.

    In early June the ATO issued a media release and associated audio grabs. A statement on recent reports of refund fraud issued on 19 July in response to reports of taxpayers receiving refunds well in excess of what they’d anticipated. There has been significant coverage of this via print, radio media and online articles.

    In 2017 thirteen articles have been published in the tax professional newsletter, with a focus on raising awareness of scams, how to spot scams, protecting oneself from security fraud, reviewing security to stop fraud and protect your clients, fraud prosecutions, malware and ransomware warnings.

    Tips and links

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

    The recording of the activity statement and portal changes Webinar held on 20 July 2017 is now available on the ATO website.

    The ATO website publishes updates on data that has been received from third parties and is available to pre-fill from the tax agent portal pre-fill report.

    To report a tax-related scam, phone the ATO on 1800 008 540. If you or your clients receive a suspicious email claiming to be from the ATO you should forward the entire email to ReportEmailFraud@ato.gov.au without changing or adding any additional information and delete from your inbox and sent folder.

    Next meeting

    The next meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, 1 August 2017 commencing at 11:00am (AEST).

    Last modified: 26 Jul 2017QC 52979