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On 27 June 2012, Tax Counsel, Stephanie Caredes ATI attended the first meeting of a series of weekly meetings to be held with the ATO Tax Practitioner Forum (ATPF) for Tax Time 2012. The ATO stated that a key theme for Tax Time 2012 is "Working Together". Information from these meetings will be available on the ATO's website, by visiting Tax Time 2012 essentials.

The ATO has issued the following key messages from this meeting:

1. The Commissioner issued a Tax Time 2012 Broadcast on the 25th June 2012 providing an overview of Tax Time 2012 highlighting the theme of "working together".

2. Tax Time 2012 - what you need to know

Comprehensive details of what you need to know for Tax Time is published on, these details include:

  • Update on service standards - The majority of electronically-lodged current year individual returns will be finalised within 12 business days of receipt; with the remainder expected to be finalised within 30 calendar days.
  • The full processing of 2011-12 tax returns will start on the 5th July 2012.
  • Situations that can delay return processing and common errors to avoid.

3. Tax Time tips and reminders

A short summary of tips and reminders to help tax practitioners prepare for tax time and complete your client's tax returns. It includes useful information about how to make sure your clients' tax returns are processed without delay. This summary has been published on and includes sections on:

  • How to prepare for Tax Time
  • What to do before lodging a client's return
  • What to do after lodging a client's return

4. What's new for Tax Time 2012?

There are a number of changes for Tax Time including: 

  • New legislative measures for Tax Time
  • Key changes from the budget that impact Tax Time

5. Pre-filling - what's new in 2012

Details of new data, messages and information availability will be published on

6. Tax Time 2012 Essentials

The Tax Time 2012 essentials has been published on and provides details of the changes that have been made to ATO products , forms and instruction guides.

7. Tax Time 2012 - Systems availability and processing timeline.

A timeline for the processing of 2011-12 returns highlights processing commences and from when it is expected that refunds will be received by taxpayers.

8. Dependant spouse message

From 1 July 2011 to 30 June 2012, eligibility for the dependent spouse tax offset will be confined to taxpayers with a dependent spouse born before 1 July 1971.

Taxpayers who maintain an invalid or permanently disabled spouse, support a carer or who are eligible for the zone, overseas forces or the overseas civilian tax offsets are exempt from the new age limit and will still be able to claim the value of the dependent spouse tax offset via an expanded invalid spouse, zone, overseas forces or overseas civilian offset.

Tip: A reminder to check the date of birth of spouse.

9. Integrity Issues and Tax Evasion

Last year highlighted some risks emerging from identity fraud and fraudulent payment summaries. A reminder in Tax Time tips to check internal procedures and security control. Reasonable care in lodging returns is required to prevent the risk of refund fraud. If you suspect tax practitioner integrity issues or tax evasion, please call 137 286 - Fast Key 34.

10. EFT is the key for fast refunds

The fastest, most secure way for taxpayers to receive their refund this year is to have it sent directly to a nominated Australian bank account using electronic funds transfer (EFT). Joint accounts are acceptable.

Tip: When clients book an appointment with you, remind them to bring their identification, including their bank account or financial institution details.

If you require more information in relation to the above, please contact us at TaxPolicy.

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