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The Taxation Institute of Australia issued the following press release on 14 January 2011 that may be of assistance to our members during this difficult time.

As the thoughts of our affected members turn to repairing the damage caused, the full extent of the difficulties facing these practitioners will come to light. Practitioners who require or are able to provide assistance in the form of pro bono tax advice, extra staff, or office space are encouraged to contact us at Tax Policy.  

Links to all the announcements made by the ATO, Treasurer and Assistant Treasurer in relation to the flood crisis are set out below.

Details of the most significant announcements made by the ATO to date to assist and inform tax practitioners and taxpayers through this difficult time are summarised as follows.

To assist affected taxpayers, the ATO issued the following press release on 5 January 2011. This press release sets out the manner in which the ATO can assist practitioners and taxpayers dealing with the crisis, including by:

  • fast tracking refunds;
  • giving people extra time to pay debts - without interest charges;
  • giving more time to meet BAS and other lodgement obligations - without penalties;
  • helping reconstruct tax records where documents have been destroyed, and make reasonable estimates where necessary;
  • offering visits from field officers to help reconcile lost records; and
  • helping them claim tax hardship concessions.
The ATO has also granted an automatic 1 month extension for the lodgment of monthly activity statements and related payments (from the original due date of 21 January 2011 to 21 February 2011) for businesses with addresses within one of the identified flood affected postcodes.

Further details of this extension can be obtained here.

The ATO is encouraging businesses with superannuation guarantee obligations who are not able to make their contributions for the quarter to lodge a Superannuation guarantee charge statement - quarterly (NAT 9599) as soon as possible, as until this statement is lodged nominal interest (currently at the rate of 10%) will be accrue on shortfall contributions. As this interest is paid to the employee (to compensate for lost earnings) the ATO has no discretion to waive it. Further details are available here.  

Affected persons can contact the ATO directly at 1800 806 218.
In addition to these initiatives the Treasurer has declared the Queensland, Victorian and New South Wales floods to be a disaster for the purposes of establishing Australian disaster relief funds. Further details are set out here.

Affected members should also explore the many forms of government assistance that may be available. 

Tasmanian State Taxes Review - Call for assistance

The Taxation Institute is considering preparing a submission in response to a Discussion Paper issued by the Tasmanian Department of Treasury and Finance on a review of Tasmanian State Taxes. The review will be conducted by the Tax Review Panel and will examine the existing State taxation system in Tasmania, and explore options and set a vision for tax reform in this state. Members who are interested in contributing to this submission are encouraged to contact us at Tax Policy. This submission is due for lodgment with the Tax Review Panel on 14 February 2011.

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