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On 25 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 running smoothly and our Income Tax System, which processes the millions of tax returns received, is performing well and according to schedule.
  • We have received 1.93 million lodgments including 1.71 million 2012 year returns.
  • We have finalised 1.04 million returns including 717,000 2012 year returns.
  • We have issued $2.31 billion in refunds in total, with $1.45 billion of this amount relating to 2012 year returns.
  • Telephony service standard performance to date:
    • 93% of tax practitioner calls have been answered within our service standard of 2 minutes (against a standard of 90%).
    • 93% of general taxpayer calls have been answered within our service standard of 5 minutes (against a standard of 80%).

Weekly updates on performance standards are published on our website.

Processing performance compared with Tax Time 2011 (all returns)

Returns received Returns finalised Number of refunds issued Value of refunds issued
1 July - 23 July 2012 1,933,000 1,036,000 805,000 $2.31 billion
1 July - 23 July 2011  1,894,000 856,000 663,000

$1.92 billion





Income Tax Return Integrity
So far this year, 7,600 returns have been held for review and about 30% of these have been lodged by tax agents. This time last year 19,800 returns were held for review and 50% of these were lodged by tax agents. These results reflect the refinements the ATO has made to its risk models this year.

The ATO has noted an increase in the number of returns that have been detected by the risk models relating to identify theft and fraudulent payments summaries. Tax agents have also been identifying these issues and reporting them to the ATO.

Tax Agent Tips

Income Tax Return Integrity
Tip: The ATO has sophisticated tools to identify fraudulent returns. The ATO is grateful to all tax agents for alerting the ATO of potential fraudulent activity.

Watch out for fraudulent payment summaries
Tip: To avoid unknowingly lodging fraudulent income tax returns you should:

  • take reasonable care to verify the identity of new clients, for example by sighting photo identification;
  • not lodge suspect income tax returns;
  • phone the Tax Evasion hotline on 13 72 86 Fast Key Code 34 to report suspect behaviour.

Identity Theft

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: Tax Agents should maintain their vigilance when checking a client's identity. It is important when a client books 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 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.

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