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  • Tax Time update – 25 June 2019

    System availability and start of return processing

    Key dates in preparation for Tax Time 2019:

    • Monday 24 June to Friday 5 July
      • processing continues as usual for 2018 and prior year tax returns
      • 2019 tax returns received are checked to ensure they are processing correctly.
    • Friday 5 July
      • Start of full processing of 2019 tax returns.
    • Tuesday 16 July
      • Taxpayers will start to receive refunds for 2019 tax returns.

    See also:

    Line entry deduction data – labels D1 to D15

    From 1 July 2019, wewill start receiving the line entry deduction data entered in your practice management software for 2018–2019 and later individual tax returns. This means that the detail of all deductions data, not just work-related expenses, will be included with the lodgment of the return.

    This information will bring some important benefits:

    • It will help us to reduce unnecessary contact by providing more information about the claims within a label. Where the line item data is sufficient, we will be able to close the case without further contact. Where further contact is needed, we will be able to ask about specific claims rather than the whole label.
    • It will assist us to further refine risk models and to more accurately provide tailored assistance and guidance in relation to specific claims.
    • And, it will also enable us, where necessary, to better identify, monitor and take firm action against those few agents intentionally doing the wrong thing – thus helping to level the playing field for all tax professionals.

    Consultation with tax professionals and software providers indicates the vast majority of agents already record this level of detail in their software, and therefore these changes are unlikely to impact on current work practices.

    One final point is to ensure that no privileged advice is recorded with this information to avoid it being sent to us.

    See also:

    Single Touch Payroll

    The Commissioner released a statement highlighting the approach we will be taking for small businesses transitioning to Single Touch Payroll.

    In May 2019, we provided all registered tax and BAS agents with a list of their clients that lodged a payment summary annual report in 2017–2018, with their current payroll reporting status and the recommendation to group clients into:

    • start reporting now
    • need more time or
    • quarterly reporting.

    Small employers will need to start reporting or engage with us by 30 September 2019. If small employers cannot start reporting by this time, they will need to apply for a later start date. We have published a list of no-cost and low-cost options for micro employers and put in place a number of concessional options for employers with closely held payees. Micro employers can report quarterly through their tax or BAS agent when they submit their business activity statement for the first year.

    Small employers that make a genuine attempt to report Single Touch Payroll events will not be penalised for mistakes, missed or late reports for the first year. We will provide exemptions from Single Touch Payroll reporting for employers experiencing hardship, or in areas with intermittent or no internet connection.

    See also:

    We have produced an extensive suite of products to support employers and employees understand the changes to their payroll reporting and end of financial year experience.

    Private health insurance statement

    The law has recently changed in regards to the way health insurers provide information to clients about private health insurance premiums. Previously health insurers were required to send a private health insurance statement to each adult covered by the policy by 15 July each year. It is now optional for them to send this information. The health insurer may now send the statement by mail, email, or as a link to an online version.

    If health insurance details are not pre-filled the client will need to contact their health insurer directly in order to get a private health insurance statement to complete their income tax return.

    Low and middle income tax offset

    We have confirmed that until the new increased low and middle income tax offset amounts announced in the Federal Budget 2019–20 become law, we will issue assessments with the current amounts (which range from $200 to $530).

    Should the law with the increased amounts receive royal assent after 1 July 2019, taxpayers who have already lodged income tax returns and received assessments will not need to request amendments. We will be able to identify those who are eligible for an amendment and do this automatically to allow for the increased amounts ranging from $255 to $1080.

    See also:

    Tax return status email

    We are changing the way we communicate with agents when there is a potential for a tax return to be delayed.

    A new Tax return status email, will issue weekly with clients first appearing on the report at 10 days after lodgment is received and will remain on the report until the return is processed.

    This new email will eventually replace the current 30 day delayed report, but initially agents may receive both.

    We want to proactively provide agents with detailed reasons as to why returns are being reviewed. This is to negate the need for agents to have to contact us and provide them with the ability to inform clients about the status of their tax return.

    Refund certainty

    From Tax Time 2019, clients may receive a text message from us once their income tax return has been processed advising the timeframe as to when to expect the refund into their nominated bank account.

    The aim in undertaking this approach is to keep clients informed and reduce the need for clients to contact us or their agent for an update on the progress of their return. The message will be issued to a limited number of taxpayers until we are confident that it will not generate additional work for agents.

    Tips and links

    Next meeting

    The next meeting is scheduled for Tuesday 2 July 2019 commencing at 11:00am (AEST).

    Last modified: 01 Jul 2019QC 59490