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Last Friday 25 May 2012, Tax Counsel Stephanie Caredes ATIA attended a meeting of the ATO Tax Practitioner Forum (ATPF). Many issues were discussed as put forward by both the ATO and the ATPF’s external members. A short summary of the main issues discussed follows:

  • Tax Time 2012 – The ATO provided a summary of the changes that will occur for Tax Time 2012 to the ATPF members and noted that Tax Time 2012 information should be available on the ATO website in the next week or so. We will provide members with further information on Tax Time 2012 once it becomes available.
  • Refund Integrity Checks now and for 2012-13 – The Professional Bodies sought an update from the ATO in relation to the refund integrity checks being carried out in relation to 2011 income tax returns held up for integrity checks. The ATO gave the ATPF members an update on the progress that has been made in relation to 2011 income tax returns held up for review and the areas of the review process the ATO will focus on to improve the process for Tax Time 2012.
  • ATO direct correspondence with clients – The Professional Bodies sought to have an open discussion with the ATO in relation to various issues that have arisen in the ways and methods that the ATO communicates with taxpayers and their agents. This discussion carried on from previous out-of-session discussions on the same topic where members suggested changes and improvements to ATO communications. The ATO were receptive to the suggestions made by the ATPF members.
  • Lodgment Differentiation Program – The ATO confirmed that registered tax agents will  receive information about the new Lodgment Differentiation Program, including eligibility criteria, over the coming months.
  • Tax Practitioner Action Plan 2011 – 2015 – The ATO provided the ATPF members with an update in relation to the Tax Practitioner Action Plan, which centres around three key themes:
    - Supporting tax practitioners;
    - Engaging with tax practitioners; and
    - Compliance effectiveness
  • Management and Support for Tax Practitioners – The Professional Bodies requested a discussion with the ATO in relation to the support services offered to tax practitioners, including the Tax Practitioner Services Program available to registered tax and BAS agents (see link).
  • Indirect Tax Self-Assessment regime – The ATO advised that guidance in relation to the application of the self-assessment regime for indirect tax laws will be available on the ATO website by July 2012.
  • Active Compliance Working Group Objection Review Workshop – The Professional Bodies requested an update from the ATO in relation to the Objection Review workshop that the Active Compliance Working Group ran in Brisbane on 14 and 15 May. The purpose of the Workshop was to ensure ATO audit and review communications and processes are as clear as possible so taxpayers can understand the nature of ATO enquiries and decisions made during an audit or review. Outcomes from the Workshop will be communicated by the ATO once they have had time to consider the feedback obtained from the Workshop.

In addition, The Tax Institute was thanked by the ATPF for its additional contributions made to this forum out of session in relation to significant issues affecting practice and the profession.

Members requiring any further information in relation to any of the above items should contact us at Tax Policy.


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