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  • Tax Time update – 19 October 2021

    Attendance

    Role changes for attendees are noted below:

    • Julia Cook, Acting Assistant Commissioner, ATO Marketing & Communications
    • Gail Hopley, Acting Assistant Commissioner, ATO Client Account Services (CAS)
    • Bec Smith and Phillip Ide, ATO Client Account Services
    • Kylie Smith attended for Tim Loh

    Additional guests for the meeting are noted below:

    • Filiz Ketenci, Service NSW
    • Catharina Boer, Service NSW
    • Lee Holloway, Treasury NSW
    • Natalie Thomson, Treasury NSW

    Welcome

    Hoa Wood opened the final TPSG Tax time 2021 meeting and thanked members and ATO representatives for their support and contribution toward a successful tax time period. It was also noted that this meeting was the last regular tax time meeting for the TPSG, with the next meeting being the quarterly meeting in November.

    Instalment notice transition to digital

    Gail Hopley, Assistant Commissioner CAS Product and Strategy Management referred to the presentation provided to members prior to the meeting.

    The presentation provided an overview of the transition to digital instalment notices, including preferencing and enhancements to reminder notifications.

    • A member acknowledged the areas where enhancements to digital preferences were being made, but highlighted that some of the issues remain unresolved, which is taking time to work through and impacting on practitioner capacity.

    The member provided an example to highlight where there is more work to be undertaken by the ATO to improve the experience.

    The ATO acknowledged the contribution and encouraged TPSG members to send in any examples where there is a discrepancy with the set preferences and what is occurring in practice to the TPSG mailbox. The provision of examples allows the ATO to trace and track the cause of the issues and to determine if there are broader issues.

    The secretariat confirmed that any examples and information provided to the mailbox to date have been provided to the relevant ATO area for further investigation.

    Communications

    Key updates

    Tax Institute Tax Summit

    On Thursday 21 October the Commissioner will make his annual keynote address at the Tax Institute’s Tax Summit.

    The conference theme is “Challenge Accepted: Reuniting the profession to reflect, rebuild, and reinvent the future of tax” and the title of the Commissioner’s speech is “Partnering with the profession to lay foundations for the future”. The Commissioner’s address will be published to ato.gov and the Tax professionals newsletter.

    NSW government stimulus update / discussion

    A confidential discussion and update on NSW government stimulus processing and guidance material was held with Service NSW.

    Member discussion

    • Members held a general discussion on items that taxpayers believed could be claimed as deductions.

    The ATO has requested that members email the TPSG mailbox with any examples so that they can be considered for media and communication campaigns and community education.

    • A member advised that calculating deductions for travel between home and place of work is more complex given the impact of COVID-19, highlighting the guidance material doesn’t appear to cover this.

    It was agreed the ATO would consider this issue further in consultation with members.

    • A member advised that there were instances being reported of users dropping out of myGovID into the Vanguard webpage. The member advised that they would send any examples through to the TPSG mailbox.
    • A member advised that there has been some experience of deductions for superannuation contributions being disallowed and it appeared in the member’s information that the reason for this was that those amounts were not included in pre-fill.

    Other members reflected that whilst the disallowance of deductions appeared to be an issue a few months ago, they hadn’t experienced the issue since. It was suggested that there needed to be written acknowledgment of the notice provided to the super fund prior to claiming the deduction in order to avoid that outcome.

    The member was asked to send any examples through to the TPSG mailbox so that the ATO could investigate where the issues might lie.

    • A member advised of an issue impacting clients resulting from a fund transitioning to a new holding structure.

    The ATO advised that this issue was currently under consideration with the relevant stakeholder.

    • A member referred an out of session proposal seeking a blanket extension of time for potential new clients to engage an agent after 31 October and the potential impact that might have the lodgment program concession if the new client was taken on after 31 October with returns outstanding.

    The ATO noted the New or re – engaged client deferral process which has been available for some time, is designed to assist agents who engage a new client, or re-engage with a client, with one or more years of overdue income tax returns without affecting the agent’s access to lodgment program. It was also noted that the 85% benchmark would also be relaxed this year. In these circumstances, a blanket deferral for clients to be added to an agent’s client list is considered not appropriate.

    The ATO agreed to meet separately with interested members to work on some messaging for education and awareness communications.

    Useful links and resources

    Last modified: 25 Oct 2021QC 67188