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On Wednesday 18 September 2013, Tax Counsel Stephanie Caredes CTA attended the weekly Tax Time 2013 update with the  members of the ATO Tax Practitioner Advisory Group (ATPAG). Subsequent to this meeting, the ATO has issued some key messages. In particular, we draw Members’ attention to the delays that are likely to be experienced in the processing of returns where the dependent (invalid and carer) tax offset is claimed.

ATO Key Messages

  • Tax Time 2013 is still proceeding very well.
  • The ATO has received approximately 4,614,000 returns (for all years) and has finalised approximately 4,299,000 returns (for all years).

Processing performance compared with Tax Time 2012 (current year returns)

Returns received     

Returns finalised 

Number of refunds issued

Value of refunds issued

To 16 September 2013




$8.85 (bil)

To 16 September 2012




$7.98 (bil)







Telephony service standard performance to date:

 From 1 July 2013 to 17 September 2013, we received 2,325,554 inbound calls and achieved service commitments of-

  • Tax practitioner calls - 91.4% of calls answered within 2 minutes;
  • General taxpayer calls - 81.5 % of calls answered within 5 minutes.

During this period, the average wait time was 35 secs for Tax practitioners and 125 secs for general taxpayers.

Weekly updates on performance standards are published on our website.

Dependent (invalid and carer) tax offset

This year, there have been changes to the dependant (invalid and carers) tax offset. New legislation changing entitlements to dependent tax offset came into effect from 2012-13 year. Unless taxpayers were eligible for a zone or overseas tax offset, they were no longer able to claim offsets for:

      • Spouse born on or after 1 July 1952;
      • Parent / parent in law; or 
      • Invalid relative.

Taxpayers can only claim an offset for dependents in receipt of an invalidity pension or carer of such a person.

It was expected that very few taxpayers would be eligible to receive the new tax offset;  to date 32,512 taxpayers have made claims. As a result,  we are stopping all returns with a dependent tax offset claim (ie any offset claims greater than $0) to review. All new claims will be treated pre-issue, those returns that have already issued will be followed up.

For more information, visit Dependent (invalid and carer) tax offset page. 

A broadcast will be issued to tax agents on this matter shortly. 

Members who require further information about any of the above should contact us at Tax Policy.