MEMBER 265 writes, in response to Member 263's comments in last week's TAXVINE - see 2013 TAXVINE No 46 (29 November 2013) - about various problems with the ATO proposal to stop issuing paper Activity Statements once one statement has been lodged electronically:
"Member 263 is 'right on the money' with their comments on possible move by the ATO away from paper Activity Statements. I would like to see a detailed response from the ATO on each of the points raised by Member 263. Without a doubt, from my experience, paper AS is an instigator for ultimate lodgment of the AS, even if electronic lodgment."
AND THE ATO has responded to Member 263 as follows:
"Consultation has highlighted the issues raised by Member 263 and the ATO acknowledges that some tax practitioners will be impacted more than others.
The pilot group included tax and BAS agents from large and small practices, in both metro and rural areas. The overall feedback from this group indicated that tax practitioners are aware of the trend towards fully electronic business models and are confident they can manage this change if given adequate lead time.
There will be an impact for clients who choose to use a tax practitioner for a one-off lodgment, as a single electronic lodgment will result in a change to how the next activity statement is issued. Clients and their tax practitioners will need to consider this when deciding how to lodge activity statements. For example, if an electronic lodgment method is used to receive the benefits of electronic lodgment concessions, then either the client or the tax practitioner will be required to take steps to reinstate the paper lodgment method if that client cannot transition to electronic self-lodgment.
The response published in 2013 TAXVINE No 44 (15 November 2013) provided advice on how portals, Standard Business Reporting (SBR) and the electronic commerce interface (ECI) users can ensure they receive an email notification – this email can be sent directly to the client. Electronic lodgment service (ELS) users will have pre-populated, personalised activity statements delivered directly to their ELS mailbox via a report, separate notification will not be sent for these clients. Business clients have an obligation to understand their lodgment and payment due dates – these dates are not changing and are published on ato.gov.au under both the Business and Tax professionals segments. Consultation, which is still ongoing, is providing us with information on how this issue, and others, can be managed within a practice. More detail, as well as topics such as impact dates and one-off lodgments will be published in the coming months to allow tax practitioners prepare their practices for the change.
With an expected implementation date of 30 June 2014, initial communications have already commenced and will continue to intensify. The proposed implementation date means that all impacted clients will receive the June 2014 activity statement via paper – any electronic lodgment after 30 June 2014 will likely result in the next generated activity statement not issuing via paper (generate dates are published each year on ato.gov.au). This means that for the majority of quarterly lodgers the September activity statement, which has a concessional due date of November 25, will not issue via paper."