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04 Nov 11 ATO Tax Practitioner Forum update

Deepti Paton ATIA is representing The Tax Institute at the ATO Tax Practitioners Forum (ATPF) meeting today in Sydney.

Items on the agenda include:

  • Refund integrity checks - we are seeking some information on the scope of the checks, the common errors identified and adjustments that have been made to date, and the impact on taxpayers/agents.  A number of members have contacted us with examples of what they consider to be problematic refund integrity checks (e.g. where the ATO is seeking very detailed information about every label on a lodged return). We will be presenting these examples to the ATO, and elaborating on the difficulties faced by practitioners in responding to extensive information requests.
  • Adjustments to returns following data matching exercises - we are seeking a discussion about the ATO's procedures following the identification of possible errors in a return as a result of a data-matching exercise. Our aim is to ensure that responding to data-matching concerns is simple and efficient for agents.
  • Tax Agent Portal functionality - this is an ongoing topic of discussion. We are encouraging the ATO to develop systems to promptly alert agents to system issues, and are seeking involvement in developing this process. The ATO is running a pilot program to alert agents about major outages via text messaging, and we hope to find out more details about this program.
  • Application of FITOs against Medicare Levy liability - as reported in a recent edition of TaxVine, the Professional Bodies identified that the ATO was incorrectly disallowing some FITOs against certain Medicare Levy liabilities. The ATO’s views on this issue have been published in ATO ID 2011/75 “Allowance of credit for tax paid in PNG, against Australian tax payable, including Medicare Levy”. The ATO believes that there may be up to 1,400 individual taxpayers that have an unused foreign income tax offset and a Medicare levy liability in 2009 and 2010, with around 90% of these taxpayers using an agent to lodge their income tax returns. The ATO is developing processes to ensure that amended assessments can be issued as quickly as possible to taxpayers identified as entitled to apply their excess foreign income tax offset against their Medicare Levy liability. More information on these processes will be provided in TaxVine as it comes to hand.

A full report on the ATPF meeting will be included in next week’s TaxVine.


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