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  • Tax Time update – 2 July 2019

    Lodgment – type and channel

    Overall – year to date returns received as at 1 July 2019

    Current year returns received as at 1 July 2019

    Comparison – current year returns received as at 1 July 2018

    Individual – electronic

    118,387

    98,257

    47,417

    Individual – paper

    29

    2

    0

    Non-Individual –electronic

    9,629

    1,098

    57

    Non-Individual – paper

    21

    0

    8

    Self-preparer – myTax

    93,112

    87,634

    42,725

    Tax practitioner – Practitioner lodgment

    32,753

    10,740

    4,288

     

    Tax refunds – all returns as at 1 July 2019

    Refunds issued

    13,289

    Refunds issued ($m)

    $82m

    Average refund ($)

    $6,194

     

    Tax refunds – 2018–19 Individual Income tax returns as at 1 July 2019

    Refunds issued

    0

    Refunds issued ($m)

    $0m

    Average refund ($)

    0

    Employment income statements

    An employment income statement is provided to an employee in lieu of a payment summary if the employer is reporting and finalising their data through Single Touch Payroll (STP).

    If the employee and/or their agent do not agree with the amounts on their STP employment income statement, they should use the same process as they would have used to dispute a PAYG payment summary, namely:

    • speak to the employer/payroll manager about the amounts that they believe are incorrect.

    If the employer and employee agree that an amendment is required, the employer should lodge an STP update event to adjust the YTD totals for the employee and ensure that they flag the finalisation on that update event.

    Once the amendment has been received, the ATO will update the pre-fill (MyGov, PLS and agent portals), notify the employee via MyGov inbox messaging and also advise the agent.

    See also:

    Digital substantiation project

    The ATO continues to trial ways of ensuring a level playing field, especially amongst high-risk taxpayers.

    This year the ATO will be writing to 500 taxpayers (including those who use an agent) whose work related expense claims in the last two years were higher than expected when compared to their peers.

    To verify their claims, taxpayers will be asked to provide additional information and documents supporting their work related expense claims made at one specific label, at the time they lodge their 2019 tax return.

    The ATO will contact the agents of approximately 200 of these taxpayers, to let them know they will be writing to their clients and what they should do. Agents can upload the requested information and documents through the portal, ATO online, email or mail in hard copies. This may result in delays to processing returns. Delays can be minimised by providing full and complete supporting information to assist case officers to assess the claims.

    Private health fund information

    The ATO through the tax agent pre-fill report provides the start and end date for members covered for Private Patient Hospital cover. The tax agent will be able to determine the hospital cover days by referencing the start and end dates if there are:

    1. start and end dates pre-filled: Private Patient Hospital cover was provided for that period from the fund or
    2. no start and end dates: Private Patient Hospital cover was not provided from that fund.

    The actual number of hospital cover days is not provided in pre-fill due to other information being required from the taxpayer that is not known by the ATO. For example, the tax return asks for details on whether the taxpayer qualifies for a full or half exemption. The ATO will not necessary know the taxpayer’s marital status, status of dependants or whether there are other dependents whose Private Patient Hospital cover will affect the exemption category.

    2019 Tax Time Toolkits

    The Tax Time Toolkits are user-focused products developed to help taxpayers get their tax right. The products simplify complex information, making it easy for taxpayers to quickly understand their obligations. They are memorable, shareable and importantly visually appealing as well as a great resource for major employers, professional associations and tax professionals.

    See also:

    You can access the toolkits via the following options:

    1. ato.gov.au/Taxtimetoolkits
    2. Under ‘Key Links’ on the Tax professionals segment homepage.
    3. Navigate via Tax professionals > Prepare and Lodge > Tax Time 2019.
    4. Download from the ATO Publication Ordering Service – Tax Time ToolkitExternal Link page.
    5. Individuals and small business will also find the products within the related website content on the various segments of ato.gov.au

    Letters being sent to TAG clients regarding new record keeping tool

    The ATO is running a limited bulk email pilot reminding tax agent clients of the records they need to keep to support their work related expenses (WREs). Advance notice was sent on Thursday 27 June 2019 to just over 6000 tax agents whose clients will be receiving emails, informing them of the pilot and which of their clients are included.

    Emails to 20,000 taxpayers will issue Thursday 4 July 2019. Within the email we direct taxpayers to our Set the record straight product that outlines the three golden rules for WREs.

    It also provides details on:

    • what records they need to keep and for how long
    • how they can use the myDeductions app to track their WREs and send them through to their agent, and
    • how the record keeping rules apply to different expenses.

    The email to clients does not direct them to myGov, nor is there any mention of self-preparing. The content of the email is of an educational nature only to remind them of their WRE obligations prior to visiting their agent to lodge their return for 2018–19.

    However, on review we have noted that the link actually connects to broader information and a video that also covers how to use the deductions information in myTax. To ensure that this initiative focusses the clients on the record keeping and supports their relationship with their tax agent, the link has now been changed to go directly to the 'Set the record straight' product itself rather than the web page.

    Tips and links

    • Tax Time 2019 information for tax professionals.
    • You can subscribe to receive daily email updates from the ATO on changes made to ato.gov.au.
    • Our Tax professionals newsletters are a free, weekly email newsletter that provide links to the top articles in the Tax professionals newsroom, as well as information and updates from our website. To receive a copy, subscribe to the Tax professionals newsletter or the BAS agent edition.

    Next meeting

    The next meeting is scheduled for Tuesday 9 July 2019 commencing at 11:00am (AEST).

    Last modified: 04 Jul 2019QC 59550