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16 Mar 1212 BAS Agents Advisory Group

On Thursday, 8 March 2012, Tax Counsel Stephanie Caredes ATIA attended a meeting of the BAS Agents Advisory Group (BASAAG). Many issues were discussed as put forward by both the ATO and the BASAAG’s external members. A short summary of the main issues discussed follows:

  • Refund verification – The ATO provided a summary to BASAAG members in relation to the decision in Commissioner of Taxation v Multiflex Pty Ltd [2011] FCAFC 142 in December 2011 and the subsequent introduction of the Tax and Superannuation Laws (2012 Measures No. 1) Bill on 1 March 2012 and its intended operation. The ATO provided an update in relation to the progress of certain refund integrity checks. Highlighted in the discussion was the need to balance issuing refunds in a timely manner with capturing refunds incorrectly claimed. BASAAG members raised issues concerning the ATO’s “risk identifiers” used to identify refunds to be held for integrity checks and concerns for particular industries that generally experience GST refunds as a matter of course (eg pharmaceutical  and building industries). Process issues (eg refunds in consecutive periods) were also raised. The BASAAG requested the ATO issue guidance to the profession in relation to these issues.
  • Indirect Tax Issues for the Property Industry – The ATO took the BASAAG members through the operation of the ATO Property Page which covers income tax, capital gains tax and GST (see link) and the GST Property Tool (see link). The ATO is seeking feedback on these tools. Any feedback members have in relation to these ATO tools can be sent through to Tax Policy which will be forwarded on to the ATO (on a “no-names” basis) or to the ATO directly.
  • Tax Practitioner interaction with the ATO – the ATO is moving towards interacting with tax agents and BAS agents on an electronic basis only eg ensuring all lodgements occur electronically. This will involve enhancements to the Portal with a focus on improving stability and functionality of the Portal and moving towards using Standard Business Reporting as widely as possible. The ATO will provide support to the profession to assist with this transition.
  • Tax Practitioners Board  - BASAAG members received an update from the Tax Practitioner Board (TPB) covering issues previously raised by the BASAAG including, among other things, issues concerning the re-registration of BAS agents and TPB compliance activity.
  • Use of multiple agents and their hierarchy on the Portal – the BASAAG members raised concerns about the use of the Portal where taxpayers have more than one agent (eg a tax agent for income tax purposes and BAS agent for Activity Statement lodgements). BAS Agents have experienced difficulties where their client’s tax agent has set themselves up for Activity Statement roles which the tax agent should have access to by default. The ATO will seek to clarify this issue with the profession. 
  • Reporting of Payments in the Building Industry – A new system will be introduced from 1 July 2012 where taxable payments made to contractors in the building industry will need to be reported. Details will be available in due course.

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

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