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A welcome extension for tax agents to lodge annual GST returns and information reports

Publication date: 01 Feb 02 | Source: THE TAX INSTITUTE

Deadlines for tax agents have now been moved from the fixed date of 28th February 2002, until the date when each taxpayer's income tax return is due under the agent's lodgement program. This date varies from taxpayer to taxpayer, but is no later than May 15th 2002. Some taxpayers, including those exempt from income tax, will still need to lodge their Annual GST information by 28th February – Taxation Institute of Australia therefore strongly recommends people confirm their lodgement dates with their tax agents.

'Why has it taken the Commissioner so long to offer this reasonable lodgement date extension when the clear inappropriateness of the original 28th February date was raised with the ATO over 18 months ago?' questions Alice McCleary, National President, the Taxation Institute of Australia.

The ATO needs to be more realistic when setting deadlines in the first place. The original ATO lodgement deadlines were neither realistic or feasible – and advice to this effect by the Institute (among others) was completely ignored. The original deadline would have doubled compliance costs because 2001 tax information would have had to be dealt with twice: once in February for the GST Annual return and again a few months later for the income tax return.

With taxpayers concerns on basic administrative matters being regularly ignored, perhaps this indicates a useful long-term role for the Inspector General of Taxation: finding workable solutions to difficult systematic administrative issues within the tax system and ensuring that they are dealt with efficiently and commercially in the future.