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07 Jun 12 Key messages from the ATO Tax Practitioners Forum meeting held on 25 May 2012

The ATO has asked The Tax Institute to draw members' attention to the following ATO advice that arose out of the recent ATO Tax Practitioners Forum (ATPF) meeting.

"ATPF tips for tax practitioners

Several tips for tax practitioners were identified during the ATPF discussions:

1. Validate front page detail on the tax return; name, address, date of birth before lodgment. Changes to these details can be updated via the Tax Agent Portal.
2. Trustee Resolution must be made before 30 June 2012 for the 2011-2012 income tax year.
3. Taxable payments reporting for businesses in the Building and Construction Industry will commence on 1 July 2012.
4. GST self-assessment changes – the new self-assessment system will commence on 1 July 2012.
5. TaxTime 2012 essentials webpage is now available.
6. Ensure property developers who claim activity statement refunds during construction, report when the property is sold.
7. Self-assessed lodgment deferrals are for a maximum of 28 days, not a calendar month.

Note: As part of TaxTime 2012, the ATO will be issuing tax time tips.

Working together

As part of the Tax Practitioner Action Plan, the ATO and the professional bodies have worked together to ensure our consultative forums are more responsive to issues that are impacting on tax practitioners. Recently, the ATO and representatives of the tax profession met to discuss a range of issues that are causing concern.

One of the issues that was raised involved the ATO writing to directly to clients when they have a tax practitioner as their formal address/registered contact.

At the ATPF, it was agreed that the principles for the ATO contacting clients of tax agents would be rearticulated to ensure the guidelines provide a framework for effective, efficient and fair and reasonable communication when the ATO is contacting clients (taxpayers) of registered agents.

The current guidelines reflect a shared understanding of the ATO’s strategies in regard to compliance and help and education activities. The benefits of the guidelines are to:

1. Help registered agents and clients to minimise the costs in complying with the tax laws.
2. Ensure a more streamlined administration of client contact through an increased ATO understanding of the needs and circumstances of registered agents and their clients.

In most instances, the ATO will write to the client’s registered address, however, the guidelines will be restated to clearly show the circumstances where the ATO may write directly to taxpayers. It was agreed that the ATO would notify the registered tax agent prior to these letters issuing (in some limited circumstances this may not be appropriate or possible).

If the matter involved a complex technical issue, the ATO would contact the agent rather than the client directly.

As part of our consultative process, we will continue to work with the professional associations in updating these guidelines.

GST self-assessment

GST self-assessment changes – the new self-assessment system will commence on 1 July 2012 and will apply to amounts under indirect tax laws for tax periods and the fuel tax return period starting on or after 1 July 2012.

Key changes include:

  • On lodgment of a BAS, the Commissioner is taken to have made an assessment of the net amount/net fuel amount for the tax period.
  • Taxpayers are only liable to pay, or entitled to be paid, liabilities and entitlements that have been established by an assessment.
  • Taxpayers will no longer need to request an assessment to access Part IVC objection rights.

Transition period:  there is a transitional aspect to the introduction of a self-assessment system for indirect tax laws.

The current self-actuating system will continue to apply to tax periods and fuel tax return periods starting before 1 July 2012."


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