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  • Tax Time update – 1 September 2020

    ATO systems and maintenance

    ATO systems and digital services continue to be stable and are coping well with the increased volumes associated with tax time and the stimulus measures.

    Changes have been made to the ATO Legal Database and recent feedback from TPSG members indicates that many of the performance issues reported have been resolved. The solutions implemented will continue to be monitored over the next few weeks to further refine performance and the search functionality, and ultimately establish whether these solutions have been successful.

    Communications

    Tax professional’s newsletter

    This week’s newsletter will include articles on:

    Articles in development

    Superannuation

    • COVID-19 early release of super update – tips for applying, avoiding common mistakes and the compliance work we have undertaken to confirm eligibility.
    • Good record keeping for SMSF’s.

    Other

    Individual communications

    • The ATO are revising and updating existing tax time products to improve readability of these products.
    • Social media posts are planned on the topics of work-related expenses and Tax Help.

    Small business communications

    • The ATO are doing some third-party public relations through regional publications. This will include an article to be published in the September edition of the Greater Dandenong ‘Talking Business’ magazine covering the themes of home-based business and mental health.

    Cash flow boost stimulus measure

    The ATO has contacted a small number of cash flow boost recipients where out of pattern behaviour has been observed, or unusual amounts are recorded in activity statements in the salary and wages amounts or PAYG withholding. In response, a number of taxpayers have amended activity statements, correcting errors that have occurred. Follow-up work will be undertaken on cases that have not contacted the ATO by the response due date.

    The ATO is following up on issues relating to payments to closely held entities and associated parties and their eligibility for cash flow boost. The ATO is also addressing the perceived inconsistencies in the treatment of cases that have been escalated for review.

    The ATO responded to a query previously raised in relation to refunds to clients who have paid their activity statement balance without taking into consideration the cash flow boost credit that is due to be applied.

    For most cases, these overpayments are picked up by ATO systems and corrected ensuring that the appropriate refund amount issues. There are a small number of instances where this doesn’t occur due to suppressions on the accounts, compliance activities or other reasons. If the refund does not issue as expected, clients are encouraged to contact the ATO to request a manual refund. Alternatively, these refunds will be issued once the next activity statement is lodged.

    JobKeeper payment

    On Monday 31 August 2020 the ATO implemented a system release for JobKeeper 1.1. All reports so far indicate that this release is functioning as intended.

    This release allows employers who are managing their employees through ATO Online services to add additional employees. The ATO has also updated the baseline based on Single Touch Payroll records to prefill where possible, if needed employers can now add eligible employees who are not currently listed.

    The ATO is consulting with TPSG members on letters of JobKeeper registered client lists to be issued to tax professionals in the week beginning 7 September.

    The ATO is waiting for JobKeeper 2 legislation to be passed by the Senate. Once this legislation is passed, the Treasurer will be able to make the rules to support the JobKeeper extension. Once the Legislation is passed and rules are registered the ATO will issue guidance material relating to the changes.

    Tips and links

    Next meeting date

    The next Tax Practitioner Stewardship Group Tax time 2020 meeting will be held on Tuesday 8 September.

    Last modified: 11 Sep 2020QC 63642