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  • Tax Time 2022 update – 27 September

    The Tax Practitioner Stewardship Group (TPSG) Tax Time meeting was held on 27 September 2022. Key messages from the discussion are listed.

    On this page

    Attendance

    TPSG external member apologies:

    • Mark Morris, BNR partners
    • Matthew Addison, Institute of Certified Bookkeepers
    • Phil McCann, McCann Financial Group
    • Peter Thorp, Australian Bookkeepers Association
    • Steven Inglis, Findex.

    Welcome

    Members were welcomed and advised of changes to ATO representatives for the meeting.

    Action item updates

    Members were advised the item regarding actions an agent should take after a tax record has been locked (to protect from fraudulent claims) is in progress, an update will be provided out of session.

    Members were advised that process changes have been implemented to address the delays in processing of returns with lump sum E amounts, with most returns now being processed within 28 days. The item has now been closed, any further exceptions to reported to the secretariat.

    Members were advised that in response to the feedback we have updated our webpages to incorporate changes to the Crypto record keeping – ‘Tips for protecting crypto asset records’.

    ATO updates

    Updates were provided from:

    • ATO Systems and Digital services
    • Service Delivery
    • Marketing and Communication
    • Superannuation and Employer obligations.

    No significant issues were identified and tax time is progressing well. Key points noted included:

    • There are currently no system issues to report.
    • Individual lodgments for the current year are tracking slightly higher than last year.
    • Inbound call drivers remain the same; with requests for linking codes and payment arrangements being the top reason to call.
    • We have continued to focus our communication activities on supporting agents during tax time, providing information on key topics, including
      • the Tax practitioner assistance service for agents who are unable to resolve a matter relating to their client through existing channels
      • our Tax professionals newsletters included information about how agents can protect sole trader clients in avoiding common tax time mistakes, GST fraud and a client letter campaign relating to non-pursued debts
      • the newsletters also included information about the upcoming Taxpayer Charter review, updating client financial account details, changes to our General and shortfall interest charges and a message from Deputy Commissioner, Hoa Wood
      • the new look digital Cash Flow Coaching Kit, which makes it easier to start cash flow and budgeting conversations to assist your small business clients. Information for small businesses has also focused on home-based business and motor vehicle expenses
      • the new director identification number (director ID), including a video which walks clients through how to apply for their director ID online. The fastest way to get a director ID is to apply online using the myGovID app. We have further communications, including an advertising campaign targeting directors underway soon, as we experience a high number of call enquiries for assistance.
       

    Optus data breach discussion

    Members noted their concerns regarding the breach and potential impacts from a taxation and superannuation perspective. Key points from the discussion:

    • We are aware of the recent Optus data breach.
    • ATO systems have not been affected and the data breach does not provide a malicious party with direct access to tax, super and registry records. However, we are aware of the potential fraud and identity theft risks associated with taxpayers’ personal data having been compromised.
    • We are continuing to work with Optus and the Australian Cyber Security Centre (ACSC) to identify and mitigate these risks.
    • We take data security extremely seriously and we have a number of safeguards and systems in place to protect taxpayers.
    • As the situation develops, we will work closely with any taxpayers and agents who may be affected by the breach to offer our assistance. We encourage taxpayers and agents to consider the material available on Data breach guidance for individuals.
    • Tax agents can improve their lines of defence by ensuring they exercise additional care and due diligence, including following the Tax Practitioner Board’s proof of identity requirements for client verificationExternal Link. Strong client verification helps to protect tax agents, their clients, and Australia’s tax and superannuation systems from misuse and abuse due to identity theft and related issues.
    • Our Strengthening client verification guidelines outlines the steps agents should undertake in relation to client identity verification. We are asking that agents perform identity checks for
      • all new clients including representatives of new clients
      • new representatives of existing clients
      • existing clients, where you have concerns the client may not be who they say they are
      • existing clients who may have been impacted by the Optus data breach.
       
    • myGovID users who do not already have an IP3 (strong) credential are encouraged to step up to IP3. See myGovID and RAM for tax professionals for more information about myGovID for tax agents.
    • We have existing processes for taxpayers whose identity has been stolen or misused. Our Client identity support centre can give taxpayers information, advice and assistance to re-establish their identity and ensure their tax records are protected.
    • If members receive any questions on the security of TFNs, ABN’s, BAS, please direct them to us for commentary.

    Other useful links

    Further information for any clients that have been impacted by the Optus data breach can be found in publicly available material at:

    For practical tips see the ACSC's Have you been hackedThis link opens in a new window.

    Member issues and insights

    Update on previously reported issues

    A member queried the process to follow where there is a discrepancy in the pre-fill data.

    We advised discrepancies between the information sent to your clients and the information reported to us for pre-filling needs to be resolved with the data provider before you lodge your client's return.

    If you are unable to resolve the discrepancy or have notification that an income or account does not belong to your client, we prefer you to contact us online using Practice mail in Online services for agents, using:

    • the topic Income tax
    • with the subject Pre-filled tax return data incorrect.

    A member queried the status of director ID registrations and whether they could include details in an upcoming professional association webinar.

    We provided communication content to the member for inclusion in the webinar.

    A member raised a query with respect to franking.

    We advised the member that a representative would be in contact to discuss further.

    A member suggested some potential public advice and guidance we could consider.

    We requested members to send their PAG suggestions to the secretariat.

    Useful links

    Last modified: 03 Oct 2022QC 70484