On 11 July 2012, Tax Counsel, Deepti Paton 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 is proceeding very well.
- Notices of Assessment and Statements of Account are issuing as planned.
- Call responses are still within expected service levels.
- There is a service standard that the majority of current year electronically lodged income tax returns will be finalised in 12 business days and a regular update against this service standard will be provided at future Tax Time meetings.
- The ATO has detected an increase in identity crime using cancelled or compromised TFNs.
Service standards - For individuals
The ATO will aim to finalise the majority of electronically-lodged current year individual returns within 12 business days of receipt; with the remainder expected to be finalised within 30 calendar days.
For the 2012-13 income year, we have changed our approach for the small percentage of electronically-lodged returns that are affected by delays. From the end of July 2012, we will send you a weekly email with a list of your clients whose returns we do not expect to finalise within 30 calendar days. The list will include the:
- client's name
- tax agent client identifier
- year of return
- reason code for the delay.
In order to protect your client's personal tax information, a separate email will be sent to you at the beginning of July 2012 with a full list of reason codes and a description of what each code means. You will be able to cross reference the reason codes in the weekly emails, with this list.
Individual returns lodged on paper could take up to 42 calendar days from receipt to be finalised. We do encourage you to lodge electronically if at all possible.
Identity Crime - Protecting tax file numbers
Your client's tax file number (TFN) is used to identify them in their dealings with the ATO and will usually stay the same for life. It is an important part of your client's identity and should be kept safe.
Inform your clients to never quote or give out their TFN unless there is a good reason, such as completing a tax form or opening a bank account.
Only certain people are entitled to ask someone for their TFN, including the ATO, Centrelink, superannuation funds, banks or financial institutions, and employers (but only after your client has started working for them).
TFNs should never be used to establish or confirm identity with other organisations.
Tip: When a client books an appointment with you, remind them to bring their identification, including their bank account or financial institution details.
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 Code 34.
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.