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On Wednesday 2 October 2013, Tax Counsel Stephanie Caredes 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 which are below:

  • Tax Time 2013 continue to proceed very well.
  • The ATO has received approximately 7,632,000 returns (for all years) and has finalised approximately 7,237,000 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 30 September 2013 6,918,000 6,140,000 5,480,000 $14.24 (bil)
To 30 September 2012 7,044,000 6,426,000 5,514,000

$12.86 (bil)


Telephony service standard performance to date

 From 1 July 2013 to 1 October 2013, we received 2,652,521 inbound calls and achieved service commitments of-

  • Tax practitioner calls - 91.5% of calls answered within 2 minutes;
  • General taxpayer calls - 81.6 % of calls answered within 5 minutes.

During this period, the average wait time was 34 seconds for Tax practitioners and 127 seconds for general taxpayers.

(From 1 July 2013, full industry standard is being used to calculate the service commitments. This calculation excludes escalated and abandoned calls from “within standard” totals. Escalated calls are now excluded from the calls received total)

Weekly updates on performance standards are published on our website.

Tax Free threshold

The tax free threshold amount was incorrectly reduced from $18,200 to $416 following a systems deployment on September 21-22. 

Clients impacted are those in receipt of the following non-refundable tax offsets:

  • Senior Australian and Pensioner Tax Offset (SAPTO) for the 2013 income year;
  • Pensioner Tax Offset (PTO) for the 2012 income year;
  • Beneficiary Tax Offset (BTO) for the 2012 income year.

Issue was first identified on the 25 September 2013 and a fix was implemented the following day.

Current Status - Wednesday 2 October 2013

  • Approximately 17,250 clients made a claim for SAPTO during the problem period.
  • Of these approximately 7,500 had tax payable greater than the amount of non-refundable offsets used and require an amendment.
  • Approximately 5,200 of these clients had tax agents (impacting approximately 2,900  tax agents).
  • Issues with tax free threshold for 2012 and 2013 Trustee Liability and Individual Instalment Eligibility forms was also identified. These are scheduled to be fixed Thursday 3 October. Processing of Trustee Liability forms will be stopped until the fix is deployed. 

The ATO have stated that where an amendment is successfully processed, the tax agent or client will be contacted prior to receiving the Notice of Amended Assessment. 

Members who seek further information in relation to the above should contact us at Tax Policy.