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Tax Time 2023 update – 4 July

Key messages and themes from the Tax Practitioner Stewardship Group (TPSG) Tax Time 2023 meeting, held on 4 July 2023.

Last updated 11 July 2023

Key messages and themes from the Tax Practitioner Stewardship Group (TPSG) Tax Time meeting, held on 4 July 2023.


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

TPSG external member apologies:

  • Michael Croker, Chartered Accountants Australia and New Zealand
  • Neville Birthisel, Institute for Financial Professionals Australia
  • Ani Tuna, BlueRock Accounting.


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

As this was the first meeting for 2023 there were no action items to review.

Members were advised of the meeting format and reminded that the intent of the meeting is to cover items immediately relevant to Tax Time 2023. Members were also encouraged to send any issues or insights to the secretariat prior to the meeting where possible.

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 2023 pre-fill service in PLS is returning occupation codes which are our internal-use codes instead of the data we expect to transmit. Investigation is progressing and formal communications will be issued.
  • The changes to the contact centre services as outlined in the communication that issued to members on 30 June, including the update for tax professionals statement.
    • The redeployment of staff to reduce the on-hand volume processing work will impact the ability to respond to high call volumes. Where possible, agents are encouraged to use online services rather than calling us.
    • We will monitor, identify and communicate opportunities to promote specific online services.
  • A reminder that we have recommenced offsetting of debts on hold. Confirmation that affected clients have been engaged and sent correspondence.
  • Our key tax time focus for this week through our communications and media activities includes:
    • reminding taxpayers and agents of the importance of waiting for pre-fill before lodging
    • a media release discussing work-related expenses
    • promoting our digital self-help tools as the quickest way to get answers this tax time and that using Online services for agents will resolve many issues faster than calling us.
    • the release of the Tax agents and BAS agents lodgment program 2023–24, which will help manage workloads
    • the Tax professionals newsletter, featuring a roundup of things to know this tax time, including when to conduct client verification, the Lodgment program 2023–24, the methods available to calculate your client’s working from home deductions, how to calculate car expenses, and the change in the self-education expenses threshold.

Member comments

Members discussed:

  • Reports of some issues amongst the community with the renewal for myGovID.
  • STP2 salary sacrifice pre-tax calculation errors and the potential for communications to assist.
  • Examples of third-party data errors and flow-on impacts to us, clients and agents – further discussion will be considered for the quarterly TPSG meeting. Members were encouraged to send examples to the secretariat.
  • Whether there were plans for a Law Companion Ruling (LCR) for the Small business skills and training boost. We confirmed there was no plan for a LCR at this stage and promoted the web guidance.
  • Scam activity.

Post meeting

Members were supplied with the following messaging regarding the occupation codes issue, for distribution amongst networks.

  • We’re aware of an intermittent issue impacting pre-fill of occupation codes through practitioner lodgment service (PLS). PLS pre-fill is returning our internally generated occupation codes, which if not corrected causes returns to fail. You can overwrite these codes with:
    • the codes available for selection in your software, which align to our approved Income Tax Form occupation codes used for lodgment or
    • by applying the relevant occupation code as published on our website.

We’ve investigated and identified several causes of this issue and are aiming to deploy a partial fix later in July 2023. In limited circumstances, some incorrect codes may still be passed in 2023 pre-fill. These codes will be progressively remediated as we identify them.

Member issues and insights

Reported issues

A member suggested we consider delaying the lodgment/processing of tax returns during July to avoid unnecessary mistakes (by awaiting pre-fill data) as it causes reverse workflow and pressure on the system.

This suggestion will be discussed further in the TPSG quarterly meeting.

New issues

No additional issues were raised by members.

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