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  • Tax Time update – 24 August 2021

    Service delivery

    No significant changes from the previous week, call volumes have been consistent, wait times are well within standard.

    ATO systems

    Performance across all ATO channels is good. No issues or exceptions to report.

    Communications

    Key updates

    The latest scam alert has now been published on ato.gov.au. This alert was prompted by concerning reports about new payment methods being used by tax scammers, including couriers collecting cash payments, gift cards or cash delivery made in person at a pre-determined public location.

    The ATO have promoted this scam alert on social media on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn, and will be promoting the alert through upcoming newsletter editions.

    Communications focused on support for tax practices and their clients commenced last week, including:

    • An editorial from Deputy Commissioner Hoa Wood, published to the Tax professionals newsroom.
    • A one-page summary of some support options available to tax professionals was sent via email to TPSG members to disseminate amongst their networks.
    • The announcement of the new phone deferral service, with more details due to be released in the coming weeks.

    Members provided feedback and insights in relation to the editorial, emphasising that there is an opportunity to improve the clarity in some of the messaging.

    A sub-group of members agreed to meet and draft some suggestions for the ATO to consider.

    The ATO acknowledged the offer and highlighted that it is genuinely seeking to convey the message of support and tailored assistance in trying to find a sustainable outcome for tax professionals and their clients during these challenging times.

    Superannuation and employer obligations

    The ATO acknowledged receipt of member examples of superannuation contribution rounding and calculation errors and confirmed that the issues were being further investigated.

    Further updates on the identification and implementation of a solution will be provided to members when they become available.

    It was noted that the motion in the Senate to not accept the ATO’s request for Public Immunity (in relation to the Senate Order to provide details of employers with an annual turnover greater than $10 million who received JobKeeper payments) passed on 25 August 2021. The deadline for the Commissioner to provide the information is 4.30pm on the 26 August 2021.

    Small business

    No update or issues to note.

    Debt and lodgment

    Firmer action activities continue to be suspended in Victoria, ACT and NSW. Having regard to the conditions in the state, firmer action strategy will re-commence in QLD soon.

    The ATO have taken steps to significantly reduce the volume of outbound telephone contact with clients in response to the pressures being faced by tax practitioners and clients in COVID-19 impacted areas. All client contact activities will continue to be reviewed in coming weeks.

    NSW government stimulus update / discussion

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

    Service NSW thanked members for their feedback and assistance in revising the guidelinesExternal Link for the various payments/grants, which will be published to the Service NSW website this week.

    Useful links and resources

    Next meeting date

    The next Tax Practitioner Stewardship Group Tax time 2021 meeting will be held on Tuesday 31 August.

    Last modified: 31 Aug 2021QC 66715