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  • Tax Time update – 13 July 2021

    Service Delivery

    Call statistics

    • Call volumes are currently 25% less than this time last year. In comparison to 2018 call volumes (benchmark year prior to COVID-19 and natural disaster) we have seen a 9% increase.
    • 35% decrease in tax agent calls with 49,013 calls received to date.
    • 13 and 14 July historically receive the highest volume of calls and 2021 has been no exception.
    • Call wait times are within service standards.

    General line top enquiry topics

    Linking codes

    • General income tax queries
    • Outstanding lodgment
    • What’s my TFN?
    • myGovID assistance

    Refunds

    • Refunds will start issuing on 13 and 14 July 2021.

    ATO Systems

    ATO systems are largely operating well.

    Known issues

    • A network service issue impacted all digital channels on Sunday 11 July. This as resolved by the afternoon.
    • PLS experienced system degradation for a short period on Monday 12 July. Communications

    Upcoming communication products - Intermediaries

    Tax professional’s newsletter

    This week’s Tax professional’s newsletter will include items focusing on:

    • private health insurance pre-fill data availability
    • STP Income statements
    • getting ready to lodge TPAR
    • setting up myGovID on a newly purchased mobile.

    Upcoming communication products – Individuals

    • Our second Facebook Live video covering how to fix a mistake, Government stimulus payments and linking myGov to ATO was published last week (8 July).
    • Promotion of rental property info via PR outreach begins on 12 July to real estate third parties.
    • Social media (Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter) is scheduled for this week on topics such as community support worker deductions, promotion of WRE resources, how to check the progress of your return.
    • Promotion of the ‘Do I Need to Lodge’ tool.

    Upcoming communication products – Small business

    Small Business tax time communications in July will focus on:

    • income and expenses (including the small business tax time toolkit)
    • commercial leasing.

    These are being delivered through the Small business newsroom, Business Bulletin newsletter, Tax professionals’ newsletter, public relations and social media channels.

    On the small business section of our website we have published information to help commercial tenants and landlords understand how their tax obligations may have changed if they’ve received or given a rent concession as a result of COVID-19. The Tax Time 2021 toolkit for small business is also available on our website.

    Upcoming communication products – Large business

    Campaigns

    We are preparing Phase 2 for our economic stimulus measures campaign. This will run early August and into September. This will direct people interested in loss carry back and temporary full expensing to visit ato.gov.au/bounceback (not currently a live page).

    Business bulletins

    Topics we covered in the 7 July Business bulletins newsletter included information on the stimulus measures for tax time, public advice and guidance releases on R&D tax incentive and unpaid present entitlements.

    The next Business bulletins newsletter will be issued on 21 July.

    Not For Profit Newsletter

    Our 12 July Not For Profit newsletter included a promotion of Assistant Commissioner, Jennifer Moltisanti’s blog about what tax time means for not-for-profits, the support the ATO provides, and a reminder to ancillary funds.

    Country-by-country (CBC) local file/Master file and instructions

    We are preparing to publish the 2021 files and instructions as part of the CBC reporting obligations by certain entities. CBC reporting is part of a suite of international measures aimed at combating tax avoidance. Bulk correspondence

    • The majority of our Tax Time bulk emails have issued, with 4.3 million already despatched including 2.9 million in June.
    • We will be issuing correspondence to 52,000 tax agent clients about record keeping this Wednesday.
    • The correspondence focuses on the importance of record keeping for work related expense claims, with a link to our online record keeping guide. Agents have been advised of this planned mailout throughout the last fortnight.

    Members provided positive feedback about the record keeping for work related expense claims, advising the campaign was well targeted to the right client demographic and it provides agents with a tool to have a discussion with clients on the importance of record when claiming expenses on income tax returns.

    Superannuation Employer Obligations

    • The delay in displaying transfer balance cap indexation for individuals has been resolved and balances will be viewable from Thursday 15 July 2021.
    • The YourSuper comparison tool had 165,000 hits in the first week and is receiving positive feedback from community.

    Emerging issues

    Members advised that they are seeing examples where employers have not finalised 2020 income statements. Requested that the ATO issue additional communications reminding employers to finalise income statements.

    Small Business

    • Advice and guidance for Rent or lease payment changes due to COVID-19 has been published on ato.gov
    • Online Services for Business usage has increased to 70%, with only 30% of clients still using the business portal. The business portal will retire on 31 July 2021.
    • Thank you to all members for their support in cascading the pre-fill and JobKeeper messaging amongst their network.

    Debt and Lodgment

    • Engagement with clients who have not responded to prior campaigns or education has commenced. Activities have been moderated in considering COVID-19 impacted areas.

    Member issues / open discussion

    • Members discussed and requested communication be shared with the community on record keeping requirements in anticipation of what will be required for TT 2022. What will be very important is not to let too much time pass from 1 July to remind taxpayers to keep all records of WFH expenses and record hours worked from home, as this will keep their options open for TT 2022. It is very difficult to have clients reconstruct months later.
    • Members also discussed the various claims that taxpayers are wanting to make attributed to expenditure incurred during lockdown periods (for example, deductions claimed for hotel quarantine costs) etc. Noted it would be good to get communications out now about the sorts of claims that are generally not allowable.
    • Members also noted that cumulative list of lockdown periods for each state and LGA would assist practitioners and ensure there was consistency in the approach and help with calculations. Noted that this may be something we work with the Professional Associations.

    Tips and links

    • Occupation and industry guides are available on ato.gov to assist agents and clients work out what income and allowances to declare and the work-related expenses that can be claimed as a deduction.
    • Tax time 2021 toolkit
    • Records you need to keep guide.

    Next meeting date

    The next Tax Practitioner Stewardship Group Tax time 2021 meeting will be held on Tuesday 20 July.

    Last modified: 03 Aug 2021QC 66543