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  • Tax Time update – 20 July 2021

    Membership changes

    Departing members:

    • Deputy Commissioner Dana Fleming – ATO Superannuation and Employer Obligations.

    New members:

    • Deputy Commissioner Emma Rosenzweig – ATO Superannuation and Employer Obligations.

    Service Delivery

    Call statistics

    • Call volumes increased over the weekend (17 - 18 July 2021) and yesterday (19 July 2021) and exceeded historical patterns.
    • Average call wait times are 4 - 4.5 minutes for the general enquiry line (13 28 61). Wait times are minimal for the tax agent line.
    • Calls are being analysed to update and improve the self-serve content on the website.

    General line top enquiry topics

    • Linking codes
    • Explain my refund
    • myGovID assistance


    • No issues or exceptions to report.

    ATO Systems

    Feedback and sentiment by tax professional members was that overall, ATO systems are operating well, and online channels are performing strongly.


    Current campaigns and communications

    Single Touch Payroll finalisations

    There is communication scheduled for our newsletters, social media and PR activities over the coming weeks to reinforce the need for employers and their agents to finalise STP data. This will ramp up as we move towards 31 July.

    Working from home record-keeping reminders

    Communications will begin issuing this week on the importance of keeping records of hours worked and work-related purchases for future substantiation requirements and to allow clients to keep their options open when calculating deductions for the 2021-22 income year.

    Products include:

    • Social media posts and a new videoExternal Link promoting WFH expenses and a reminder about the need to keep future records.
    • Our fourth FacebookExternal Link Live event this week covering WFH expenses, including what can and can’t be claimed, and some of the particularly notable incorrect claims we’ve seen so far.
    • For tax professionals, an article on record-keeping and revisiting one of our previous Tax Time quick tips videos that focused on WFH expenses, including a reminder about keeping records for future years.
    • The next episode of our Tax inVoice podcast is also being recorded this week. It covers a range of topics for agents, including WFH expenses, record keeping and deductions.

    Upcoming communication products - Intermediaries

    Tax professional’s newsletter

    This week we are releasing video 7 of our Tax Time video series for tax professionals, which covers:

    • checking your clients progress of return.
    • the Tax professionals digital education series.
    • the refreshed ATO app.

    Other tax time topics in our tax professionals newsletter this week include:

    • compensation paid from financial institutions.
    • checking your donations this tax time.
    Other key topics

    Topics we have scheduled to cover over coming weeks through our channels include:

    • reasons for lodgment delays.
    • recruitment consultant work-related expenses.
    • the three golden rules when claiming deductions.
    • private health insurance pre-fill data.
    • promoting reminders around company tax rates as some businesses may be eligible for the lower company tax rate and we want to make sure they are applying this.

    Superannuation Employer Obligations

    • Members were reminded about the super guarantee payment and charge statement lodgment due dates approaching.
    • Due dates and further information are available on the website.
    • It was noted that if a client is not able to make the requisite contribution on time then to lodge a super guarantee charge statement within 28 days of that lapsed due date to best mitigate application of penalty.
    • Noted that we will also look at issuing additional communications to remind practitioners about payment and lodgment due dates will be disseminated.

    Small Business

    • There is currently a strong focus on the help and education strategy. A new video featuring Andrew Watson will cover loss carry-back tax offset on ATOtvExternal Link soon.

    Other areas of focus for education and support include:

    • Prefill report
    • Directory for Tax Time information (dates, contacts and resource links).

    Debt and Lodgment

    The ATO is currently monitoring the impact of the lockdowns in multiple states and are mindful of this when undertaking any firmer action campaigns.

    Support can be provided if needed with:

    • FTL penalty remission
    • deferrals
    • payment plans.

    Members discussed a processing irritant in being unable to process a Return Not Necessary (RNN) or Further Return Not Necessary (FRNN) advice for those years in which clients did not have an obligation to lodge but were showing as outstanding.

    It was confirmed that this should not impact the processing of current year returns, and members were encouraged to email examples (of this and similar issues) to the TPSG mailbox.

    Member issues / open discussion

    • Members discussed the current COVID-19 impacts, including state specific support measures and their rollout. Members in indicated there is still a lot of dynamic change and some confusion in the community in relation to the NSW stimulus payments.
    • Members noted that the guidance material the ATO developed on the same topics for the administration of the Commonwealth stimulus packages was developed taking into account the tax profession’s feedback and as a result were very practical and comprehensive. It was recommended that the ATO share this with relevant NSW state government departments. Members noted that they had been engaging with the relevant state departments as well.
    • There was consensus that providing support and space for agents with clients located in NSW will be essential during this period. Many agents are currently focusing on lockdown measures are may be distracted from lodgment obligations.
    • Members acknowledged that other states may soon likely to be impacted in a similar manner.
    • Members were thanked for sharing their current experiences, noting how important this is for us to understand the current environment and if anything further needs to be done. It was noted that the ATO continues to be committed to providing the support and assistance to the tax profession and their clients necessary at this time.
    • A member raised an issue in being unable to seek an extension over the phone, whilst the client was able to do so. This issue will be investigated further, and procedures checked.

    Tips and links

    Next meeting date

    The next Tax Practitioner Stewardship Group Tax time 2021 meeting will be held on Tuesday 27 July.

    Last modified: 03 Aug 2021QC 66544