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29 Nov 2018 Latest ATO news

Plan for ATO annual closure 

This year, the ATO’s annual office closure starts on Monday 24 December and will reopen at 8.00am on Wednesday 2 January 2019. 

Lodge as early as possible to give the ATO time to process your clients' returns, activity statements or other forms before the annual office closure. Returns or activity statements lodged on or after 7 December 2018 are less likely to be finalised before the closure. 

In planning your work between now and then, keep in mind that there are three weekends of systems maintenance during November and December. The ATO recommends that you check the System maintenance page for the latest planned maintenance information. 

ATO system maintenance 

ATO online systems may be impacted in part or in full for scheduled maintenance. Check the ATO’s system maintenance page for upcoming maintenance times. 

ATO raises concerns on multinational supply chains and intangible assets 

The ATO has released advice that details their concerns about multinational taxpayers inappropriately pricing goods in their supply chains or mischaracterising intangible assets, with the ultimate effect of understating profits in Australia. 

Deputy Commissioner Mark Konza said the recent Taxpayer Alert TA 2018/2on the migration of intangible assets and Practical Compliance Guideline on inbound supply chains were another step in the ATO’s continuing focus on ensuring that multinationals are paying the right amount of tax in Australia. 

Read more here. 

Insight: building trust and confidence 

The ATO has created a new part on their website: Insight: building trust and confidence to show how they are helping tax practitioners help their clients understand their tax and super obligations. It is a snapshot of the ATO’s latest focus areas and results, making it the first port of call to get facts and figures on how they are improving the experience for tax practitioners and their clients. 

How the ATO uses data and analytics 

The ATO can receive, match and pre-fill large volumes of data from third-party providers, particularly in respect to income. This enables the ATO to share information about an individual’s tax affairs, with them or their agent, before they lodge a tax return. 

The ATO’s use of data is also transforming how work-related expenses are assessed. Data and insights underpin the culture of service, early intervention activities and the ATO’s goal of prevention rather than correction. 

Find out more here

Notification of software ID for STP 

If you use online or cloud-based software to report Single Touch Payroll (STP), in most cases you will need to provide the ATO with your unique software ID. 

To obtain your software ID, talk to your digital service provider. You will then need to complete a one-off notification through Access Manager or contact the ATO to let them know your unique software ID. 

There is also a bulk notification request form you can use to notify the ATO of multiple software IDs for your practice or clients. 

Find out more here. 

Take steps to protect the data of your employees, clients and business 

It is important that you take steps to protect the data of your employees, clients and business. 

The ATO is introducing mandatory multi-factor authentication for some cloud accounting software users by the end of this year. 

You will need to check with your accounting software provider to learn how to set up and use multi-factor authentication. 

Find out more here

Tax professionals conversations webcasts 

Tax professionals conversations is the ATO’s series of webcasts for the tax profession, hosted by Colin Walker, Assistant Commissioner for Agent Services, Support and Experience, Intermediaries and Lodgment. 

2019 webcasts are yet to be confirmed but you can access past recordings and transcripts here

Pass debt correspondence to your client 

You may receive correspondence for your client relating to obligations to pay. If you are not assisting your client with payment: 

  • pass any information about their payment obligations on to them
  • check that their address and phone details are up to date, so the ATO can contact them directly. 

If they are no longer your client, remove your contact details from all ATO systems. See Client list – Checks to make before clients are removed for details. 

More information can be found here

Creativity crowned the winner in tax competition 

Animations, comedy skits and a rap music video about superannuation were among the prize winners of the 2018 ATO Tax, Super and You competition. 

The competition asked students from years 7–12 to pitch creative campaigns encouraging their friends to learn about the importance of paying tax and building superannuation. 

Read more here.

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