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28 Nov 14 On double penalties

MEMBER 194 writes:

"On 26 November 2014, our office received a 'Penalty for Failure to Lodge Activity Statement on Time', dated 24 November 2014, imposing a penalty for the late lodgment of a client’s activity statement.

A penalty of $1,700, despite the ‘maximum’ penalty being $850 (maximum 5 penalty units x $170).

I’m tempted to frame it, with the out of date and incomplete 'overdue documents' email from the ATO earlier this week.

And the ATO continues to intimidate professional, ethical, and caring tax agents with the 85% on-time lodgment policy at the same time as threatening that Standard Business Reporting (SBR) is either (1) going to remove $500m odd in professional tax agent fees from the economy or (2) is just 'ELS 3.0' and we needn’t worry about it, depending upon which day we are listening to ATO messages. 

Unfortunately, competence is not a prerequisite to throwing your weight around." 

TAX COUNSEL THILINI WICKRAMASURIYA COMMENTS: We continue to provide feedback to the ATO on its communication strategy in relation to the transition to SBR.  Most recently, this was discussed at a meeting of the 2015/16 subgroup of the Future Tax Industry Working Group on 18 November 2014. At that meeting, members asked the ATO to communicate their project plan in relation to this transition with a clear timeline. The ATO dispelled the myth that this will result in tax practitioners no longer being involved in compliance work in the near future due to the potential adoption of a standard chart of accounts. We also continue to raise members concerns regarding the communication strategy and uncertain operation of the 85% rule in the Lodgment Program in forums such as the House of Representatives Standing Committee on Tax and Revenue’s inquiry into the 2013 Annual Report of the ATO, and the ATO’s Lodgment Working Group.