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10 Sep 2020 Tax Time 2020

TPSG Tax Time 2020 Update

On Tuesday 1 September 2020, Senior Advocate, Robyn Jacobson CTA attended the weekly meeting of the ATO’s Tax Practitioner Stewardship Group to discuss Tax Time 2020 matters. The following key matters were discussed at the meeting:

  • ATO Legal Database — Changes have been made to the ATO Legal Database and recent feedback from TPSG members indicates that many of the performance issues reported have been resolved. The solutions implemented will continue to be monitored over the next few weeks to further refine performance and the search functionality, and ultimately establish whether these solutions have been successful.
  • Cash Flow Boost — The ATO has contacted a small number of Cash Flow Boost recipients where out of pattern behaviour has been observed, or unusual amounts are recorded in activity statements in the salary and wages amounts or PAYG withholding. In response, a number of taxpayers have amended activity statements, correcting errors that have occurred. Follow-up work will be undertaken on cases that have not contacted the ATO by the response due date.

The ATO is following up on issues relating to payments to closely held entities and associated parties and their eligibility for the Cash Flow Boost. The ATO is also addressing the perceived inconsistencies in the treatment of cases that have been escalated for review.

The ATO responded to a query previously raised in relation to refunds to clients who have paid their activity statement balance without taking into consideration the Cash Flow Boost credit that is due to be applied. For most cases, these overpayments are picked up by ATO systems and corrected ensuring that the appropriate refund amount issues. There are a small number of instances where this doesn’t occur due to suppressions on the accounts, compliance activities or other reasons. If the refund does not issue as expected, clients are encouraged to contact the ATO to request a manual refund. Alternatively, these refunds will be issued once the next activity statement is lodged.

  • JobKeeper — On 31 August 2020, the ATO implemented a system release for JobKeeper 1.1. All reports so far indicate that this release is functioning as intended. This release allows employers who are managing their employees through ATO Online services to add additional employees. The ATO has also updated the baseline based on Single Touch Payroll records to prefill where possible, if needed employers can now add eligible employees who are not currently listed.

The ATO is consulting with TPSG members on letters of JobKeeper registered client lists to be issued to tax professionals in the week beginning 7 September.

The ATO is waiting for JobKeeper 2 legislation to be passed by the Senate. Once this legislation is passed, the Treasurer will be able to make the rules to support the JobKeeper extension. Once the Legislation is passed and rules are registered the ATO will issue guidance material relating to the changes. (Comment by Senior Advocate, Robyn Jacobson CTA: The amending legislation was enacted on 3 September 2020.)

A link to the key messages from this meeting is here. (Note: the key messages were not released by the ATO until the Monday following the meeting.)

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