• 2. Lodgment Program

    Professional Association Submission

    Subject:
    Lodgment program BAS Agents – 2014

    Question:
    What are the current plans by the ATO for the lodgment program for BAS Agents moving forward?

    Specifically: what if an Agent takes on a client with outstanding lodgments – what effect does that have on the ATO view of that agent and their lodgment program for their other clients?

    Background:
    Current year has seen publication and changes to TA lodgment requirements and consequences of non-performance.

    Appropriate concessions and communication occurred to BAS Agents but with promises of changes going forward.

    What is the plan going forward? How do we get involved in plans and consultations?

    Industry view/suggested treatment:
    Consultation

    Impact on clients:
    Fear factor of agents

    Also a response that agents won’t add clients to their list in fear of a consequence, which would appear to be the wrong answer.

    Priority of issue:
    Medium. This affects day to day life of BAS Agents and their work with clients.

    Has this been discussed at any other consultative forum?
    Yes but no recent updates or discussion around what has and hasn’t happened.

    Meeting Discussion

    The new lodgment program framework which currently applies only to Tax Agents was developed in consultation with the Lodgment Working Group. The program requires agents to lodge 85% of their clients’ income tax and FBT returns on time. Tax Agents will need to lodge returns electronically in order to receive lodgment program concessional due dates.

    The new framework will be rolled out in two stages, with stage one involving tax agents and stage two will include BAS agents and activity statement obligations. The initiative has had a positive impact in improving on time lodgment across the tax profession.

    The second stage will include registered BAS agents and activity statement obligations. The second stage was initially scheduled to begin on 1 July 2014, but the ATO is reflecting on knowledge gained from the rollout of the first stage, and consolidating the changes for tax agents prior to introducing changes for BAS agents and activity statements. At this stage the second stage has been deferred till 1 July 2015 at the earliest.

    A considerable amount of consultation with BAS agents and professional associations will occur prior to the delivery of the second stage of the framework. The ATO website, which mentions the delivery of the second stage, to include BAS agents, by 1 July 2014 is currently being updated to accurately represent this change in delivery timeframe.

    We only look at lodgment of the current year's tax return to calculate on-time lodgment performance percentage, therefore prior year lodgments will not affect the performance measurement. The 85% on-time performance benchmark provides a 15% leeway, so that if at the end of a measurement year the agents have taken on a number of clients with many years outstanding, the ATO will examine how it impacts their ability to lodge their client’s current year obligations and its effect on their on-time performance.

    Work has commenced on a Best Practice Guide for Tax Practitioners. The intent of this guide is to join a range of other tools and publications that support agents in improving their lodgment performance, and supporting better practice management and relationships with the ATO. Consultation will be undertaken with Tax and BAS Agents in the development of this Guide.

    Reference: BASAAG 0412/01

    Agenda item #: 2

    Agenda Topic: Lodgment Program

    Action item: BAS Agents to be more involved in consultation leading to the further implementation of the 85% lodgment program framework

    Responsibility: Assistant Commissioner Paul Kruspe

      Last modified: 06 Feb 2015QC 39578