On 10 October 2012, Tax Counsel, Stephanie Caredes CTA 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 has processed more returns this year (around 7.8 million) than it had processed at the same time last year (around 7.7 million).
- We continue to perform strongly against service standards for electronic returns:
- Individuals – within 12 business days (currently 98% against benchmark of 94%);
- Non individual – within 14 calendar days (currently 93% against benchmark of 92%).
- There are fewer telephone calls to the ATO in relation to progress of assessments.
- There has been a reduction in simple errors which delay returns processing. This is attributable to increased accuracy of personal details provided on the tax returns and the ATO auto-correction processes.
The ATO is preparing for the next Tax Time 2012 peak period. General media messages leading up to 31 October include:
- Taxpayers should approach registered tax agents ahead of the 31 October due date to be included on their client list.
- Taxpayers should ensure tax agents are properly registered.
- Taxpayers are reminded to take identification and bank account details to their tax agent when having returns prepared.
Tax practitioners are reminded about changes to the dependent spouse offset. From 1 July 2012 (that is, for claims made in the 2013 tax return), a person will only be eligible to claim a dependent spouse tax offset in respect of a spouse who was born before 1 July 1952. Those who maintain an invalid or permanently disabled spouse, support a carer or who are eligible for the zone forces or the overseas civilian tax offsets can still claim the value of the dependent spouse offset through an expanded invalid spouse, zone or overseas forces offset. Tax practitioners may want to discuss the option of variations to pay as you go withholding amounts with clients that may be affected by this new measure.
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.