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06 Jul 12 ATO Tax Practitioner Forum – Weekly Tax Time 2012 Key Messages

On 4 July 2012, Tax Counsel, Stephanie Caredes ATI attended a meeting with the ATO Tax Practitioner Forum (ATPF) to discuss Tax Time 2012. Following this meeting, the ATO has issued the following key messages:

  • Tax Time 2012 pilot has now been completed and the ATO have moved into business as usual processing.  
  • Tax Return volumes received are as planned and processing is proceeding well.
  • Call responses are within expected service levels.

There have been some portal usability issues affecting access to particular client functions. The ATO have undertaken overnight fixes and believe the issue is now corrected.  If you experience any further issues with the portal let the ATO know.  You can seek support through the ATO premium service by contacting 137 286 Fast Key Code: 33.

Watch out for fraudulent payment summaries

Even though Tax Time 2012 has only just commenced the ATO has already been contacted by some tax agents who have been approached to unknowingly lodge fraudulent income tax returns on behalf of clients using false payment summaries.

  • Tax agents should take reasonable care to identify new clients, including sighting photo identification as proof of identity.
  • Suspect tax returns should not be lodged.
  • Tax agents should continue to contact the Tax Evasion hotline on 1800 060 062 to report suspect behaviour.

Tax Agent Tips

The Tax Agent Portal pre-filling service helps ensure the accuracy of returns by allowing you to cross-check information, provided directly by your clients, with that held by ATO.

Remember, pre-filling reports only reflect the information received by the ATO as at the date of the report.

Weekly Tip: Pre-fill information can assist you in preparing income tax returns but does not replace the normal enquiry processes required in preparing tax returns.

If you require more information in relation to the above or you have come across any issues that should be reported to the ATO in relation to Tax Time 2012 lodgments, please contact us at Tax Policy.

Tax Laws Amendment (2012 Measures No. 4) Bill 2012–  Reform of Living Away From Home Allowance and Benefit Rules

On Tuesday 3 July, Greg Kent FTI (PWC) and Tax Counsel Stephanie Caredes ATI attended a meeting with Treasury and the Treasurer’s office to discuss the Reform of Living Away From Home Allowance and Benefit rules  as contained in Tax Laws Amendment (2012 Measures No. 4) Bill 2012. Consideration was given to the practical implications of living away from allowances being treated in both the income tax and fringe benefits tax systems and the scope of the “variation to employment arrangements” and the impact on the transitional provisions.

BAS Agents Advisory Group Meeting

Further to the summary that was included in 2012 TaxVine No 23 in relation to the BAS Agents Advisory Group meeting that was held on 14 June 2012, the ATO has issued some key messages that we have noted below:

BAS Agent Portal upgrade 2012

Later this year the BAS Agents portal will be upgraded. Additional accesses will be provided to BAS agents to allow them to: 

  • view their clients’ accounts (RBA)
  • view details of clients they are authorised to access eg. Telephone number, address as well as registration details
  • download activity statement lodgment status reports to manage their workload
  • obtain a list of their clients registered on the portal
  • access additional secure messaging
  • access more online forms

Standard Business Reporting

SBR is an Australian government initiative designed to reduce the reporting burden for businesses in Australia. The ATO is one of 12 participating agencies. This means you can now automatically create and securely send the ATO selected forms online directly from your SBR enabled financial, accounting or payroll software.

Software providers are progressively SBR-enabling software and forms. Before purchasing or upgrading your software, make sure that the software is SBR enabled and includes the forms you require. When using SBR-enabled software, you can complete a range of ATO forms and then securely lodge them online directly from your financial, accounting or payroll software. This includes Activity statements (BAS & IAS).

For more information about Standard Business Reporting or to check if your software provider is enabling activity statement forms visit the website: Click Here

You need an AUSkey to lodge using SBR. Your AUSkey also gives you access to the BAS agent portal and to electronic commerce interface (ECI). More information is available on the ATO website about dealing with the ATO online
 
Reducing Paper Activity Statements for Electronic Lodgers

The ATO wants to engage with BAS agents about suitable strategies and best practice processes that will assist BAS agents transitioning to an electronic business model. BAS agents who would like to be involved in this consultation process can register their interest by contacting the BASAAG Secretariat via email.

Members who require more information should email us at Tax Policy.