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Tax Time 2023 update – 25 July

Key messages and themes from the Tax Practitioner Stewardship Group (TPSG) Tax Time meeting, held on 25 July 2023.

Last updated 3 August 2023


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

TPSG external member apologies:

  • Ani Tuna, BlueRock Accounting
  • Debra Anderson, Anderson Tax & Accounting
  • Tony Greco, Institute of Public Accountants (Proxy Irwin Bushnell)
  • Ursula Lepporoli, KMPG
  • Neville Birthisel, Institute of Financial Professionals Australia
  • Peter Thorp, Australian Bookkeepers Association
  • Ken Thomas, Etax.

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, noting on Thursday 20 July there was an issue with one of the ATO gateways, impacting inbound traffic. The issue was resolved by midday, with resumption of services that afternoon.
  • Service Delivery, noting that as of 23 July
    • 3,038,691 individual income tax lodgments have been lodged (31% tax agent lodged)
    • 28,676 tax agent calls have been received (increase of 3% on prior year)
    • 20.3 million STP (Single Touch Payroll) records have been finalised, representing approximately 92% of total expected records to be received and finalised.
  • Marketing and Communication
    • Our key tax time focus for this week through our communications and media activities includes
      • the small business tax-time toolkit, the office workers occupation guide and in-language tax time resources
      • a new video from Michael Morton, Deputy Commissioner, Individual and Intermediaries encouraging tax professionals to source information from one of our alternatives, such as our website and Online services for agents – as it is quicker for things like progress of return enquiries, payment plans, activity statements, updating tax roles and Single Touch Payroll.
    • The latest video for tax professionals focuses on the tax time toolkits. Assistant Commissioner, Tim Loh steps through our range of toolkits, factsheets and posters, all updated for the current year. It’s an excellent way to start the conversation with individual and small business clients about what they can claim.
    • The ATO corporate plan 2023–24 is being released later this week, providing valuable insights for the year ahead, including 8 key focus areas driving our performance, and 15 core priorities reflecting the enduring activities we undertake to achieve our strategic objectives.
    • The Tax professionals newsletter features details of the next open forum scheduled for 8 August, tax tips for crypto asset investors, articles on protecting your myGovID.

Members discussed

Some instances of instability with Online services for agents throughout the week, noting that there hasn’t been any significant feedback since the issue experienced last Thursday.

Whether there had been any changes to the requirements for agent proof of identity when contacting the call centre. The insight will be investigated, and a response will be made available at the 1 August meeting or out of session.

Whether we would invest resources to respond to negative social media comments and misinformation. We will not engage in responding to posts from third-parties or platforms and will only use the official ATO accounts.

Whether an employee could lodge a subsequent Employment declaration if they had not correctly completed the initial declaration (for example, they did not select they have a second job or HELP debt). We confirmed this was the correct practice and that the subsequent lodgment will override the initial declaration (from that point onwards).

Member issues

No new issues or insights were reported by members for the week.

No other business was raised.

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