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Individuals Stewardship Group key messages 25 August 2021

Information about the key topics discussed at the Individuals Stewardship Group meeting 25 August 2021.

Last updated 24 October 2021

Corporate plan

The ATO corporate plan 2021–22 has been released with members notified. Members were invited to advise if there are any specific topics from the ATO corporate plan they would like to see presented to the Individuals Stewardship Group.

Your Future, Your Super

The YourSuper Comparison Tool was launched on 1 July 2021. The purpose of this tool is to provide transparency of relative super fund performance by comparing the 80 MySuper products available. Details of current and upcoming features were outlined.

From 1 November 2021, if a new employee does not provide a valid super fund choice, the employer must request an ATO stapled super fund service to check if the employee has an existing super account.

Tax time 2021

Tax time is progressing well with over 5.74 million 2021 individual lodgments already having been lodged, which is a 2% increase compared with the same time last year.

Over 4.47 million individual 2021 refunds have issued totalling $11.76 billion with an average refund of $2,626.

COVID-19 disaster payments are not taxable. Legislation passed on 9 August to treat these payments as non-taxable and will retrospectively be applied to 2020–21 financial year COVID-19 payments.

The ATO published a new scam alert in August to alert the community of a new phone scam impersonating the ATO or other government agency and demanding payment.

Tax help

With COVID-19 social distancing restrictions, Tax help has moved away from face to face services from community centres to mainly online and telephony support. Tax time 2021 has seen an increased uptake and challenges have included internet connectivity issues, community centre closures and reduced volunteer numbers.

To address a significant support gap for remote Indigenous communities the ATO has engaged with other government agencies, not-for-profit and community organisations to develop a range of differentiated delivery strategies.

Tax clinics

The ATO is currently working with 10 universities which will be expanded to 14 universities. The service has moved to providing assistance through WebEx and Zoom. Topics addressed included taxation consequences of residency due to COVID-19 restrictions in leaving or entering Australia, business verves hobby and cryptocurrency.

During the 2020–21 financial year nearly 10,000 hours of assistance was provided covering 1,200 individuals and 600 small business clients, including 30 clients in disputes with the ATO.

Tax implications of the changing nature of work

Discussion focussed on how work and career habits and patterns have changed, how they may change in the future and what the impacts are for the tax system.

COVID-19 has led to more individuals working from home and it is unclear if this trend will continue in future. Technology and globalisation were driving changes in work patterns before the pandemic and impacts can be seen in housing and infrastructure design. People no longer expect a job for life and may have multiple careers over their lifetime. The changing nature of work will impact the tax system, for example, changes to work related expenses.

The Productivity Commission is undertaking a broad study on what the long-term shift to working from home means for Australian firms, workers and for society more broadly.

Australian Business Registry Services and director identification

Director identification (director ID) is the first service to be delivered by the Australian Business Registry Service and requires Directors to verify their identity with appropriate identity documents and has a 1 November start date. Over 2.7 million individuals will require a director ID and the application process is currently in private beta testing, with public beta testing to occur in October 2021. Over 80 director ID numbers have been issued to date.

For now, there is no change to how directors register, search and get registry extracts. Interactions with the Australian Business Registry and Australian Securities and Investment Commission remain the same. Individuals must apply for their own director ID – agents cannot apply on behalf of clients. Individuals are encouraged to start preparing by applying for a myGovID.

Director ID numbers will not be made public at this stage and consultation on data standards and the disclosure framework will be undertaken to determine what information will be disclosed.


Attendees list




Hoa Wood (Chair), Individuals and Intermediaries


Lloyd Williams, Individuals and Intermediaries


Tim Loh, Individuals and Intermediaries

AMES Australia

Teresita Romero

Australian Securities and Investment Commission

Danny McCarthy

Australian Shareholders Association Limited

Eden Zanatta

Federation of Ethnic Communities' Council of Australia

Janecke Wille

Financial Counselling Australia

Carmel Franklin

First Nations Foundation

Phil Usher

National Seniors Australia

Craig Sullivan

People with Disability Australia

Samantha French

Real Estate Institute of Australia

Jock Kreitals

Tax Clinic

Connie Vitale


Bede Fraser

Guest attendees

Guest attendees list




Blair Lauchlan, Superannuation and Employer Obligations


Darryl McCarthy, Individuals and Intermediaries


Karin Piko, Individuals and Intermediaries


Katie Constance, Superannuation and Employer Obligations


Leigh McCarthy, Review and Dispute Resolution


Martin Jacobs, Australian Business Registry Services


Rob Hayes, Australian Business Registry Services

Services Australia

Chris Birrer


Apologies list




Kerry O'Loghlin, Individuals and Intermediaries


Reece Parry, Superannuation and Employer Obligations