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Tax Time 2023 update – 18 July

Key messages and themes from the Tax Practitioner Stewardship Group (TPSG) Tax Time 2023 meeting held on 18 July 2023.

Last updated 24 July 2023

The Tax Practitioner Stewardship Group (TPSG) Tax Time 2023 meeting was held on Tuesday 18 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
  • Brian Greenacre, BDO Australia
  • Michael Croker, Chartered Accountants Australia & New Zealand
  • Tony Greco, Institute of Public Accountants (Proxy Irwin Bushnell).

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
  • Service Delivery
  • Marketing and Communication
  • Superannuation and Employer Obligations.

Key points noted included:

  • Digital service volumes had increased since last update
    • There was a spike in demand for online services, coupled with pressure in the ATO systems processing on 17 July. This resulted in the implementation of the waiting room facility for individuals, and subsequently for business and agents. A configuration issue meant some agents were directed to the individuals waiting room. This has been fixed.
  • Processing update
    • Call volumes increased slightly from the same time last year. The nature of calls were similar to the 11 July update.
    • Lodgments were slightly down overall compared with this time last year.
    • Refunds have been issuing since last Thursday 13 July, early indications show refunds have reduced.
  • Our key tax time focus for this week through our communications and media activities includes
    • the small business tax time toolkit, the importance of correctly reporting motor vehicle expenses and homebased business expenses
    • continued emphasis of how important it is to get client verification correct, whilst highlighting tax professionals should not be retaining copies, originals or the details of identity documents due to the risk of being stolen through cyber-attacks or even physical break-ins at a tax professional’s premises
    • encouraging tax professionals to check their annual lodgment performance result through Online services for agents.
  • The latest video for tax professionals, discusses rental property claims for clients this tax time, in particular more about the common errors that will be focused on and how to get it right for clients.
  • Promotion of Open Forums which will take place on Tuesday 8 August
    • The forum gives tax professionals and their staff a chance to hear about the latest updates and upcoming changes to tax and super and questions can be asked.
    • Topics will include lodgment deferral, FBT, and a client verification update from the Tax Practitioners Board (TPB).
  • The Tax professionals newsletter features
    • an explanation on client verification – what records and identification documents to keep
    • the GST issues registers have moved from to the ATO Legal database
    • information on the taxation implications of Australian carbon credit units when operating as a primary producer
    • a reminder that super guarantee payments are due on 28 July
    • an update on the Division 7A benchmark interest rate
    • and information on when the capital gains tax discount for foreign residents applies.
  • Members were provided with an update on
    • the feedback received about STP and W1 figures not reconciling which highlighted the need for communications, which are being developed
    • the duplicate reporting issue with a large superannuation fund. The main issue has been addressed and residual remediation will continue to be undertaken as appropriate.

Member discussed

  • The issue on 17 July impacted some practitioners for most of the day. Members were encouraged to send information to the secretariat.
  • Occasions when STP software showing reports as ‘finalised’ but this not reflecting in the ATO data (showing unfinalised). This is likely to be due to the timing of updates in ATO systems.
  • Increasing pressure on agents as a result of taxpayer expectations associated with lower refunds or tax debts.

Member issues

Reported issues

  • The following issues were reported by members and will be progressed out of session or discussed at the next meeting
    • the application of the SB Technology boost and possible need for further guidance (next meeting)
    • an issue with the Online services for agents printing option not responding (out of session).

New issues

  • No other business was raised.

Useful links and resources