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24 Feb 12 ATO Lodgment Program Differentiation Co-Design Workshop

On Tuesday 21 February 2012 and Wednesday 22 February 2012, The Tax Institute’s two Tax Counsel, Deepti Paton ATIA and Stephanie Caredes ATIA, attended the ATO Lodgment Program Differentiation Co-Design Workshop.

At the two day workshop, the ATO, practitioners and professional associations engaged in discussion  on the design of the ATO’s new Lodgment Differentiation Strategy that is due to be rolled out over the next few years. This strategy will broadly involve encouraging and rewarding timely compliance and applying sanctions/providing support to agents who repeatedly fail to lodge on time.

The workshop:

  • focussed on the details of the ATO’s ‘differentiation’ strategy with respect to lodgment compliance;  
  • was convened after the professional associations’ formal expression of our concerns in relation to the ATO’s program; and
  • provided an opportunity for The Tax Institute and other professional associations and practitioners to air and resolve concerns in relation to the ATO’s proposals.

While The Tax Institute encourages members to comply with their lodgment program, we urged the ATO to also take into account factors that result in agents not being able to lodge in a timely fashion, including:

  • Client behaviour;  
  • ATO systems (including the current time-intensive system for cleaning up client lists); and
  • Increasing burden on tax agents (including as a result of ATO activities and changes in tax law).

The ATO will be rolling out the details of this new program over the next few months. The Tax Institute will take an active role in keeping members up to date with these changes.

We will also continue to consult with the ATO throughout implementation in order to ensure that unintended consequences do not result, and that agents who engage in constructive business practices and lodge in a timely fashion are appropriately recognised.

Members who seek further detail in relation to any aspect of the above are encouraged to contact us at Tax Policy.

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