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On 4 October 2012, Tax Counsel Stephanie Caredes CTA attended a meeting of the Lodgment Working Group (LWG). Following the meeting, the LWG has issued the following key messages:
The Lodgment Working Group continues to provide valuable insight and advice into the development and implementation of the 2012-2015 new Lodgment Program Framework Project.

Our current focus is on:

  • Achieving 85% on time lodgment - Co-designing processes to advise tax agents of their performance in relation to meeting the requirements of lodging 85% of current year income tax returns on time.
  • Bulk Client Deletion Service - Assisting tax agents with cleaning their client list.
  • Lodgment Compliance – Continuing to work closely with Tax Agents. 
  • Communication Strategy - Aligning communication activities with the three year plan for the new framework.
Achieving 85% on time lodgment 

We have co developed performance letters and a performance fact sheet. The performance letter provides:

  • a summary of Lodgment Program 2011-12 performance and a comparison to similar sized tax practices (i.e. based on number of clients per practice).
It was agreed that Forum members will provide further assistance by ‘user testing’ the letters through their professional networks.
In relation to measuring performance, there is further work to be done:

  • to clearly articulate the small differences between the Tax Agent Portal and ELS cliens lists and confirm that the Tax Agent Portal list will be used to measure performance. 
The fact sheet provides:

  • a summary of how the 85% on-time lodgment is calculated and how we will support your performance (consultation and research, website assistance products, telephone assistance and face to face visits). 
Bulk Client Deletion Service 

From 6 September 2012, we commenced offering a bulk client deletion service via the Tax Agent Portal. For the period ending 25 September 2012, 436 tax agents have taken up the offer, resulting in the removal of 22,499 former clients.

  • It is anticipated that by removing former clients, there will be an increased number of tax agents that achieve the 85% performance requirement.
  • We talked to some of the tax agents who took up the offer to gauge their experience. The feedback was positive - ‘it was easy to use’ and ‘saved time’. One practice had previously dedicated one staff member for a period of two weeks to removing clients from their list, and was pleasantly surprised the process took less than three hours.
The bulk deletion offer, due to close on 31 October 2012, has been extended to 15th December 2012.

Lodgment Compliance 

Tax agents who have a high level of non-compliance with the performance requirements will receive face to face visits. These visits will discuss their plans to improve compliance, performance requirements and the practice’s own performance 
Tax agents experiencing difficulty in understanding their performance and the requirements of the Lodgment Program can contact 13 72 86 Fast Key Code 322, to discuss the program or to arrange a visit from our Relationship Management program.

Communication Strategy 

The further development of an intensive communication strategy, including a program of work and timeline of activities will be workshopped at the November Lodgment Working Group meeting. Of particular significance is our collaboration with the professional associations to utilise alternative channels such as podcasts, tweets etc to engage with the audience.
Members who seek further information in relation to any of the above should contact us at Tax Policy.

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