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Some Sanity Returns: Taxation Institute of Australia Welcomes Lodgement Extensions

Publication date: 08 May 01 | Source: THE TAX INSTITUTE

Taxation Institute Tax Director, Mr Michael Dirkis said the extension represents the return of some sanity to the tax system.

'Although the Taxation Institute and many tax agents would have hoped for more, this represents an outcome which balances the needs of agents with the monetary needs of the government,' said Mr Dirkis.

'Unfortunately the Government did not see the value in the Tax Institute's recommendation that an 8 week extension should be granted for all returns after 17 May on the basis that payment would accompany lodgment. This would have given agents greater peace of mind while giving the Government greater revenue sooner.'

'The Tax Institute would like to acknowledge the government and the ATO’s recognition of the dire straits that many agents have found themselves in due to the changes reeked by Tax Reform. Many would be getting a peaceful nights sleep for the first time in weeks. However their continued peace of mind required a wider global extension,' he said.

While the Tax Institute accepts the government's decision to introduce a narrow extension for low level tax returns, the steady submissions to Prime Minister, John Howard from President of the Tax Institute, Alice McCleary to provide an 8 week blanket extension were on the whole ignored for 6 weeks.

The government failed to take action after Ms McCleary requested an urgent appeal for intervention into the 'crisis threatening' lodgment of income tax returns. The Prime Minister’s Office indicated by telephone that whilst sympathetic, no action could be taken at that time.

'It is unfortunate the Government and the Tax Office did not act sooner to end this time wasting and costly exercise of individual agents requesting lodgment for particular clients, each of which required an ATO review, acknowledgement and decision. Much money and time could have been saved on both sides. An early decision would have allowed the lodgment of returns to be the priority,' said Mr Dirkis.

Click here to view Michael Carmody's letter to practitioner's regarding lodgement extensions.