22 Jul 2021 Senior Advocate Update
ATO’s Supported Lodgment Program — update by Senior Advocate, Robyn Jacobson, CTA
Following disruption to business as usual for the last 18 months due to the increased workload arising from the various COVID-19 economic stimulus and support measures, many tax agents have sought assistance with their lodgment program. The Tax Institute has assisted a number of our members with putting them in touch with the ATO so that lodgment deferrals can be arranged on a personalised basis.
To facilitate this process, the ATO has provided us with the following information about the ATO’s Supported Lodgment Program:
This communication acknowledged the challenges tax professionals are experiencing and highlighted the channels available to the profession for seeking assistance.
One of these channels is the Supported Lodgment Program. This is a key support strategy the ATO provides to agents and practices of all sizes where they have experienced challenges in meeting their lodgment program. Given that there are numerous lodgment dates throughout the year as per the Tax agent lodgment program 2021–22, this program is ongoing to support agents impacted by events during the year.
An agent or practice can request assistance from the Supported Lodgment Program via the steps set out in this document.
Once an agent submits their request, a member of the specialised Tax Practitioner Lodgment Program team will make contact with them to co-design a tailored lodgment plan that takes into consideration the challenges they are experiencing.
The following is an example of how this process occurs:
- Prior to a member of the Tax Practitioner Lodgment Program team making contact with the practice/agent they will first profile the practice/agent to understand their client list and outstanding obligations as this helps inform the initial conversation.
- On contacting the practice/agent, the ATO officer will:
- seek to understand the issues that have impacted the practice/agent as this will determine to what extent support will be required;
- provide the practice/agent with their client list via Practice mail so that assistance can be provided to remove clients that are no longer with their practice
- work through the outstanding obligations to determine the appropriate action (this step will be unique for each practice/agent depending on what is outstanding, as they may have a mixture of obligations that can either be deferred or suspended)
- if required, discuss the practice or agent’s own obligations if they are outstanding.
The intent of these conversations is to provide the practice/agent with a clear roadmap of what actions are required, what are the key priorities and how they can contact the Tax Practitioner Lodgment Program team for further support.
The goal of the Supported Lodgment Program is to help the agent bring their Lodgment program back to a manageable position where they do not require deferrals unless for unforeseen events.
Further information on Help with your lodgment program is available from the ATO website.