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20 Sep 13 Lodgment Working Group

On Friday 30 August 2013, Tax Counsel Stephanie Caredes attended a meeting of the Lodgment Working Group. Subsequent to the meeting, the ATO issued the following key messages:

Lodgment Program Framework  - Transition year
The Lodgment Working Group members co-designed the strategies to support the program of work undertaken in the transition year.

The impressive success of the transition year is highlighted by the following numerous achievements:

Increase in the on-time lodgment of agent prepared returns

  • 23,000 tax agents lodged 11.1 million 2011-12 income tax returns (ITR), with 10.2 million on-time, which is 416,900 more ITRs on-time compared to the previous year.
  • 85% of expected ITRs were lodged by tax agents for 2011-12 on-time, increasing from 81% in the previous year.
  • The number of tax agents requesting lodgment deferrals for IT and FBT reduced by 10% (15,750 to 14,248 tax agents) from the previous year.
  • The number of deferral requests for IT and FBT reduced by 17% (33,223 to 27,319).
  • A ‘Treatments matrix’ was developed to apply a differentiated approach to address tax agents’ non-compliance with the on-time performance standard.

Increase in the number of agents meeting the 85% standard of the Lodgment Program

  • The number of tax agents achieving 85% or more on-time lodgment performance with income tax returns increased by 32.5% (9,223 to 12,229) from the previous year.
  • The number of tax agents with >25 FBT clients achieving 85% or more on-time lodgment performance with FBT returns increased from 9% to 20% (50 to 117) from the previous year.
  • The total number of agents who achieved below 65% for the 2012-13 Lodgment Program year was reduced by 10% (3,277 to 2,961).
  • 8,126 tax agent requests were actioned as part of the Bulk Client List Deletion Service and 624,123 clients were removed. Over 60% of these are identified as ‘Further Return Not Necessary’ or ‘Return Not Necessary’. Reminders were issued to remove taxpayers with outstanding obligations. Result = 17.3% obligations met.
  • For the first time, 94,698 performance letters were successfully e-mailed to agents over 4 campaigns. 

Decrease in the number of agents who lodge paper returns

  • The number of agents lodging paper returns in 2012-13 reduced by 10% (3,857 to 3,451) from the previous year.
  • 100% of active new registrant tax agents are registered for Electronic Lodgment Service.
  • The number of tax agents with 50 or more clients lodging 100% by paper reduced by 15% (207 to 177 tax agents) from the previous year.

Decrease in the number of paper returns lodged by agents

  • The number of paper IT returns lodged by tax agents in 2012-13 decreased by 16% (127,564 to 107,653) from the previous year.
  • The number of paper FBT returns lodged by tax agents in 2012-13 has decreased by 17% (4,571 to 3,789) from the previous year.

Marketing and Communications

We undertook a comprehensive marketing and communication schedule to inform agents about the new lodgment program framework. 

Professional Association representatives were acknowledged for their role in disseminating key lodgment program information to their members.

Plans for 2013-14:

  • Communication will be more tailored. We’ll look at the characteristics of different audiences.
  • A ‘Best Practice Guide’ is under development to assist underperforming tax agents.
  • We’ll be encouraging people to look at our website, rather than giving them links in an email.
  • We’ll be trialling a ‘Did you know?’ idea similar to Frequently Asked Questions.
  • Fringe Benefits Tax will be a focus area for communications this year. 

Members who seek further information in relation to the above should contact us at Tax Policy.