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Tax Time 2023 update – 15 August

Key messages and themes from the Tax Practitioner Stewardship Group (TPSG) Tax Time meeting, held on 15 August 2023.

Last updated 6 September 2023


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

TPSG external member apologies:

  • Ani Tuna, BlueRock Accounting
  • Matthew Addison, Institute of Certified Bookkeepers
  • Peter Thorp, Australian Bookkeepers Association.

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:

  • ATO Systems and Digital services
    • no issues identified or reported across the various channels.
  • Service Delivery
    • self-preparer lodgments received were down by approximately 3% compared to the same time last year
    • agent prepared lodgments are close to on par with last year
    • the average wait time for tax agent calls is around 5 minutes.
  • Marketing and Communication, the tax time focus for this week through our communications and media activities includes
    • communication highlighting an issue that has occurred with pay as you go (PAYG) instalment variations and what taxpayers need to do to ensure their variation is on their activity statement
    • a reminder to tax agents to emphasise the importance of including their clients’ preferred financial institution details (FID) on all tax returns and lodgments (to ensure that any payments are made quickly and securely, directly to the preferred account)
    • a reminder to businesses and tax agents about the research and development (R&D) tax incentive, how to claim, online tools available and to register R&D activities before lodging income tax returns
    • promotion of the Open forum event on 8 August, with articles in the Tax professionals newsletter and posts on LinkedIn
    • the latest tax time video for tax professionals focuses on the lodgment support optionsExternal Link available to you if a situation beyond your control prevents you from lodging your clients’ tax returns on time
    • the Tax professionals newsletter features articles on: how to correctly calculate the value of depreciating assets using the depreciation and capital allowances tool, whether your client needs Director IDExternal Link and how and when to apply for it, the new ruling on residency Taxation Ruling TR 2023/1 Income tax: residency tests for individuals, how to claim second-hand depreciating assets for residential rental properties, a reminder that TPAR lodgments are due on 28 August and explaining that when crypto asset investors receive staking rewards or airdrops it’s considered ordinary income and needs to be reported as ‘Other’ income on their tax return.
  • Small Business
    • provided an update on Small Business boost measure, advising more work is being done to communicate with tax agents on the measure, including what is not in the measure
    • testing is currently being done with the profession. Further consultation will occur via the Communication Content Working Group.
  • Lodge and Pay
    • we have identified an issue where offsetting to debts on hold may not be occurring as planned, meaning some clients will receive a refund instead of being offset to the debt on hold
    • communication has also issued to the TPSG, the BAS Agent Association Group and via the Tax professionals newsletter.

Member discussed

The level of detail provided for the tax time statistics. The member who raised this will provide further information and will be considered out of session.

Some reports of longer wait times for tax agents calling our service centres. Members were encouraged to send specific examples to the secretariat for further investigation. Recent examples for other issues have helped us understand, identify issues and expedite solutions.

The value of the ‘lodge now’ communication, acknowledging it has been helpful in letting people know that pre-fill data is available.

Member issues and insights

Reported issues

A member advised of a pre-fill issue relating to property, where a figure higher than the actual was populating. The issue will be investigated offline and an update communicated with members at the next meeting.

No other business was raised.

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