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Tax Time 2023 update – 11 July

Key messages and themes from the Tax Practitioner Stewardship Group (TPSG) Tax Time 2023 meeting held on 11 July 2023.

Last updated 16 July 2023

The Tax Practitioner Stewardship Group (TPSG) Tax Time 2023 meeting was held on Tuesday 11 July 2023. Key messages and themes from the discussion are listed.


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

TPSG external member apologies:

  • Ani Tuna, BlueRock Accounting
  • Keith Clissold, Metropolitan Taxation Services Pty Ltd
  • Matthew Addison, Institute of Certified Bookkeepers
  • Neville Birthisel, Institute for Financial Professionals Australia
  • Peter Thorp, Australian Bookkeepers Association
  • Tony Greco, Institute of Public Accountants
  • Ursula Lepporoli, KPMG.

Welcome / Action items

Members were welcomed and thanked for coming together to provide valuable insights and information for Tax time 2023.

No action items to review.

ATO updates

Updates were provided from:

  • Service Delivery
  • ATO Systems and Digital Services
  • Marketing and Communication.

No significant issues were identified, key points noted included:

  • The ATO provided insights and statistics into agent telephony queues with focus on the calls received that could have been resolved by using digital services. Call topics included:
    • Payment plans
    • Activity statement revisions and generations (excluding calls for generations where the online service is not an option, for example where a new role had been added)
    • Progress enquiries (acknowledging the calls are driven by processing backlogs) and Where’s My Refund
    • Updating tax roles (GST, PAYG, GST cycle)
    • Penalties and interest remission.
  • Systems are bedding down well with end-to-end return processing and refunds to issue soon in line with expectations.
    • There was a noted spike in demand online services for individuals on 10 July which resulted in the implementation of the waiting room facility
    • Messaging was placed on the dashboardExternal Link to advise agents of degraded service for Online Services for Agents and the Practitioner lodgment service (PLS).
  • Our key tax time focus for this week through our communications and media activities includes:
    • reminding taxpayers of the key things for people to be aware of this tax time, and knowing when to lodge a return
    • emphasising the importance of keeping correct records in order to substantiate claims and to declare correct income, and to only claim business deductions that are directly related to earning assessable income.
  • The Tax professionals newsletter, featuring a roundup of things to know this tax time, including:
    • what attracts the ATO’s attention, who needs to report and how to lodge a taxable payments annual report (TPAR), what the minimum requirements are for verifying an individual client’s identity, the impact of cyber-attacks, promoting the small business tax time toolkit, a reminder of SAP early December balancer concessional due dates, that the SBR product register will be removed from the SBR website, how we treat a request to lodge a late objection and how most requests for copies of tax documents can be made using our online services.
  • Promotion of the Tax Time 2023 videos series commences this week, featuring Top 5 tips this tax time and working from home rates.
  • We have alerted tax agents that we’re aware of an intermittent issue impacting pre-fill of occupation codes through the practitioner lodgment service (PLS) and have provided guidance how to overwrite the codes and what we are doing to remedy this situation.
  • Foreign exchange rates webpages have been updated, which provides accurate information for the end of the financial year 2022–23, as well as updating the monthly rates for June 2023.
  • A small population of clients that did not receive non-pursued debt credit offset correspondence has been identified and the fix is expected to deploy on 20 July.

Member comments

  • Advised that practitioners may opt to use telephony services as it provides for a real-time solution versus using an online service that has a 28-day service standard.
  • Identified there may be an opportunity for the ATO to communicate to small businesses about PAYG instalment variations (where appropriate) versus waiting for an annual income tax return.
  • The TPB webinars - Engaging new clientsExternal Link this tax time, keeping it secureExternal Link and the practice noteExternal Link related to sighting identification when onboarding a new client .
  • Suggested that working from home logbooks could reduce compliance related concerns relating to substantiation.
  • Suggested it would be useful to have examples of issues being identified by the ATO in terms of 2023 lodgments.
  • Advised that some practitioners are finding the conversations with client about work from home claims deductions difficult.

Member issues and insights

Reported issues

A member sent a query to the secretariat about the process to obtain a client list of STP reporting clients. The following response was provided:

The ATO intends on providing agents with a client list in August this year.

This will be the final time we send these lists out, as all employers should now be reporting through STP unless they have applied for and been granted a specific exemption. Any employers who are not reporting through STP and who have not been granted an exemption are not meeting their reporting obligations.

Over the course of this year we will be increasing compliance activity and penalties for employers who are reporting incorrectly.

New issues

No additional issues were raised by members.

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