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  • Tax Time update – 7 September 2021

    Attendance

    Proxies and additional guests for the meeting are noted below:

    • Gavin Green (for Filiz Ketenci), Service NSW
    • Lee Holloway, Treasury NSW
    • Sam Watkins, Treasury NSW
    • Kerrie Jarius, co-chair of BAS Agent Association Group (BASAAG).

    Lodgment performance data

    In response to queries raised at the previous meeting, some preliminary comparative Income Tax (IT) and Taxable Payments Reporting System (TPRS) lodgment data was shared with members to provide insight into practitioner lodgment.

    Members clarified that they would also like to understand the activity statement lodgment performance/position. This information is intended to provide members with some quantitative data that can be used to reconcile against the qualitative information currently available to them, and better position associations to understand and support their members.

    The ATO will work to provide data that can be meaningfully applied for the intent outlined by members, highlighting that events over the past year will need to be considered and formulated into the data to enable effective comparative analysis.

    Service delivery

    Call volumes are currently declining ahead of the projected increase in late October. Calls over the weekend remain steady and the ATO has observed an increased usage over the weekend.

    The agent phone lodgment deferral service is now operational and has received approximately 600 calls to date. The ATO emphasised the intent of the service was a part of optimising interactions based on the feedback from the agent community and is not intended to be a single solution or replace existing services for multi-client deferral requests.

    Members are encouraged to send any feedback or issues regarding this deferral process to the TPSG mailbox.

    The ATO will analyse the calls received to date to identify opportunities to improve the service.

    ATO systems

    Performance across all ATO channels continues to be stable. There was a small outage for Online Services on the morning of Monday 6 September 2021, which was quickly remediated.

    The ATO acknowledged receipt of emails from a member advising of myGovID issues being experienced and advised the issues were being investigated. At this time the issues appear to be isolated and are not being reported via other channels; however, an update will be provided to the member out of session.

    Initial communications about myGovID changes issued last week, and more detailed communications focused on helping clients navigate the changes are planned in the next week.

    Communications

    Key updates

    Tax Practitioner Assistance

    The ATO are updating content and promoting the Complex Issues Resolution service, which includes its new name; Tax Practitioner Assistance. The service continues to be available to tax practitioners for issues that are unable to be resolved through our usual channels.

    To improve the efficiency of the service and reduce unnecessary back-and-forth between tax practitioners and the ATO, our website information and the request form will be updated to better explain the service and what the ATO need from agents when asking for assistance through this channel.

    The updated web content will be live shortly supported by promotion of the updated service in our Tax professionals newsletter.

    Tax treatment of government grants and payments

    The ATO are currently reviewing our government grants and payments page to make improvements. Since the page was first created, a lot of new content has been added and we wanted to do a stocktake to ensure the information was set out clearly. This includes recent additions around COVID-19 Disaster Payments and some of the small business assistance payments delivered in each state and territory.

    The ATO are developing a PDF quick guide that provides a snapshot of different payments and their tax treatment and expect to have the guide and web content finalised in the next week. The ATO will circulate a link to members in due course and we are happy to make further refinements to ensure it meets the needs of our clients and are useful resources.

    Your Super Your Future

    The ATO are starting the awareness campaign for Your Super Your future soon and will be sending some direct mail in the coming weeks to employers.

    Small business

    No update or issues to note.

    Debt and lodgment

    There are no changes the previously reported position with regard to firmer action campaigns. We continue to monitor and adjust accordingly for COVID-19 lock down affected areas.

    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

    A member emphasised they are hearing from peers who are feeling the pressure from assisting their clients access the various stimulus state-based measures, and therefore are still under pressure with workloads.

    The ATO acknowledged the advice about the experience within the agent community, reiterating the ATO focus on optimising interactions and continued commitment in contributing toward the overall government response at this time.

    A member queried the approach to the PAYG variations to instalments and application of penalty.

    The ATO acknowledged the issue is currently under consideration and communications will issue as soon as possible.

    Members were reminded to submit feedback and examples relating to outbound correspondence irritants to the TPSG mailbox.

    Useful links and resources

    Next meeting date

    The next Tax Practitioner Stewardship Group Tax time 2021 meeting will be held on Tuesday 28 September.

    Last modified: 14 Sep 2021QC 66790