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09 Aug 13 ATO Tax Practitioner Forum – Weekly Tax Time 2013 Key Messages

On Wednesday 7 August 2013, Tax Counsel Stephanie Caredes CTA attended the weekly Tax Time 2013 update with the  members of the ATO Tax Practitioner Forum (ATPF). Subsequent to this meeting, the ATO has issued the following key messages:

  • Tax Time 2013 is proceeding very well.
  • The ATO has received approximately 3,330,000 returns (for all years) and has finalised approximately 2,509,000 returns (for all years).

Processing performance compared with Tax Time 2012 (current year returns)

Returns received Returns finaliased Number of refunds issued Value of refunds issued
To 5 August 2013  3,003,000 2,087,000 1,897,000 $4.70(bil)
To 5 August 2013 3,149,000 1,994,000 1,815,000 $3.90(bil)


Telephony service standard performance to date:
From 1 July 2013 to 6 August 2013 we received 1,241,977 inbound calls and achieved service commitments of-

  • Tax practitioner calls - 89.5% of calls answered within 2 minutes
  • General taxpayer calls - 82.5 % of calls answered within 5 minutes

During this period, the average wait time was 38 secs for Tax practitioners and 112 secs for general taxpayers.

 Weekly updates on performance standards are published on our website.

Electronic Lodgment Service
On the 5th August, just after 2pm all ELS Gateways were unavailable due to an Infrastructure issue, which was rectified around 5pm. This is the first time all Gateways have been down concurrently and action has been taken to mitigate against this issue occurring again.

Notice of Assessment
An issue was raised at the meeting held on 31 July 2013 by one tax agent regarding taxpayers receiving refunds but not the notice of assessment.  These notice of assessments have now been re-issued to the tax agent.

There was also a small number of notices of assessment that were delayed but the issue has now been fixed.

Pre-Fill Update
As at 5 August 2013, data loaded onto the pre-filling tables was as follows:

  • Payment Summaries – 61%
  • Interest – 88%
  • Dividend – 80%
  • Private Health Insurance – 0%
  • Taxable Payments Annual Reports – 0%.

Private Health Insurance pre-fill is expected to be available by next week.  However, agents are reminded that, in the interim, clients should bring their private health insurance statements to their appointments.

Income tax return integrity
Agents continue to be vigilant regarding fraudulent returns and the ATO would like to thank you for your continued assistance in alerting the ATO of potential fraudulent activity.

As at 2 August 2013, approximately:

  • 25,000 returns have been stopped for review;
  • 13,000 have been by registered preparer channels.

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
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.

Members who require further information should contact us at Tax Policy.