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Members need to be aware that under the Tax Bonus for Working Australians Bill 2009 that any extension to lodge a 2008 tax return on behalf of a client after 30 June 2008, which will still entitle your client to the cash bonus, requires an extension to be granted prior to Royal Assent; the ATO has no power to grant an extension. This is a deliberate policy by the Government. At the time of writing, Members still have a limited opportunity to get any necessary extensions prior to Royal Assent and need to take urgent steps to ensure that clients are aware of this limitation. We are also aware that tax agents, who identified this problem early and wasted no time seeking bulk extensions late last week to minimise any liability from a missed return, have been frustrated by a lack of knowledge within the Lodgment Deferral section of the ATO. The Taxation Institute is concerned that this is a further illustration of the fallout that comes from tax policy and administration on the run.

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