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18 Jun 10 More on due dates

MEMBER 181 writes:

"I am totally confused and frustrated with the endless changing of due dates for the lodgment of income tax returns and payment of any tax due. In June/July last year the lodgment program rules clearly spelled out the due dates for the 2008/2009 income tax returns - individual returns were due by 15 May 2010. This date is automatically extended to 5 June 2010 but payment needs to be made with the return. Most of our small <$2m turnover companies and super funds are due and pay on 15 May 2010.

Then we had the ATO computer debacle, so the ATO gave us a one week extension (big deal, many Member made their views known on this issue and I agree with their criticisms of the ATO). That concession took us to 12 June 2010 for individuals and 22 May 2010 for our companies and super funds.

In addition we can request an automatic extension of four weeks, if we ask "by the due date". I'm starting to get very confused now as to what "by the due date" means any more, so we applied before 15 May 2010 for all of our unlodged returns. Still no reply and I'm typing this on 11 June 2010.

Then one of my staff informs me that on the Portal, the due date for a return he was preparing was shown as 21 June 2010. We've checked a selection of clients, individuals, companies, super funds and trust returns are ALL due on 21 June 2010. Where did this date come from?? I went to a seminar for two days and asked 12 other accountants about the 21 June 2010 due date - NOT ONE HAD HEARD ABOUT IT. I am yet to receive any correspondence informing me of this miracle date. I have conducted a search on the ATO website on this date with no results.

I am grateful at the extended, extended, revised, non-communicated extended due date of 21 June 2010, I really am. But when you tell a client "your due date is 15 May; your due date is 6 June; your due date is 12 June; your due date is 21 June", they think you are a complete lunatic and have no idea what you’re doing. Multiply this by many clients, and managing this process is a nightmare.

So if I lodge an individual return after 12 June or a small company return after 22 May, do I have un til 21 June 2010 to pay?? No-one can tell me.

ATO - you continue to be the bane of my existence."

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