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On 8 August 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 continues to run smoothly.
  • The ATO is ahead in processing times compared to the previous year and as at close of business 6 August have finalised over 2.6 million returns including 2.3 million 2012 year returns.
  • The ATO has processed 220,000 more tax returns this year, compared to the same period last year.
  • The ATO has issued $5.62 billion tax refunds since 1 July 2012, with $5.11 billion of this amount relating to 2012 year returns.
  • Telephony service standard performance to date:
      • 93% of tax practitioner calls have been answered within the service standard of 2 minutes (against a standard of 90%).
      • 91% of general taxpayer calls have been answered within the service standard of 5 minutes (against a standard of 80%).

Weekly updates on tax time processing are published on the ATO website.

Processing performance compared with Tax Time 2011 (current year returns)


Returns received 

Returns finalised

Number of refunds issued

Value of refunds issued

To 6 August 2012




$5.11 billion

To 6 August 2011




$4.68 billion






The pre-filling functionality continues working well.

As at 6 August 2012, there were 197,394,640 pieces of data available for pre-filling. There have been 3,630,069 downloads of the pre-filing service.

In comparison to the 2011 processing year, there has been an increase in third party data received and loaded by the ATO - with a 22.5% increase in AIIR (bank and financial institution information) data and an 8.2% increase in PAYGW (payment summary) data.

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.

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

General Reminders from previous Tax Time Messages

Income tax return integrity

Tip: The ATO has identified a number of common front page errors, which can be minimised by tax agents checking the front page prior to rolling over.

Tax agents are asked to check their portal details to prevent unnecessary delays.  A trend has been identified where tax agents are attaching additional information and this can cause returns to be flagged for further checking. 

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.

Protecting tax file numbers

Tip: Tax agents should maintain their vigilance when checking a client’s identity.  It is important that when a client books an appointment with you, you remind them to bring their identification, including their bank account or financial institution details.

We also remind all agents that “Pre-fill” information is there to assist you in preparing your clients’ tax returns, but all necessary enquiries should be made to confirm that all relevant information is included and is correct.

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.