07 Oct 2021 Tax Time 2021
TPSG Tax Time 2021 Update
On Tuesday 28 September 2021, Senior Advocate, Robyn Jacobson, CTA attended the meeting of the ATO’s Tax Practitioner Stewardship Group (TPSG) to discuss Tax Time 2021 matters. The final TPSG Tax Time 2021 meeting will be held on Tuesday 19 October 2021.
The following key matters were discussed at the meeting:
Lodgment performance data
Further to discussion at the TPSG Tax Time meeting on 7 September 2021, additional Taxable Payments Reporting System (TPRS) lodgment data was shared with members of the TPSG to provide insight into practitioner lodgment.
- Taxable Payments Annual Report (TPAR) lodgments for 2021 are slightly below volumes received at the same time in 2020.
- As at 7 September 2021, 108,000 TPAR lodgments have been received (matched to 594,000 payees) compared to 112,000 lodgments as at 7 September 2020 (matched to 599,000 payees).
- As at 28 September 2021, approximately 80,000 TPARs have not been lodged. This figure includes a number of projected ‘nil lodgments’.
Performance across Service delivery is tracking well overall. Some key statistics are noted below:
- 7.6 million income tax return lodgments have been received.
- 6.2 million refunds worth $17 billion have issued.
- 2.93 million calls have been received.
The tax agent phone deferral service has taken approximately 320 calls to date.
The ATO advised that the system release over the weekend of 25–26 September 2021 was successful and acknowledged the assistance of tax practitioners who participated in the business deployment verification (BDV) process.
Performance across all ATO channels continues to be stable. The myGovID application experienced a minor outage on the morning of Monday 28 September 2021, which was quickly remediated.
Communications focusing on the changes associated with the update, including examples of the new screens, issued to members of the TOSG on 15 September 2021. An update will also issue to tax professionals in this week’s newsletter.
Members acknowledged and appreciated the communications, however re-emphasised that receiving the information earlier would have been beneficial. The ATO has acknowledged this request and have adjusted the approach to reflect this in future application upgrade communications.
Tax treatment of government grants and payments
Updated web content and a Quick Support Guide is anticipated to be available on ato.gov.au later this week.
The transfer of the APRA member verification service to Online Services for Business (OSfB) over the weekend was successful. The next phase of the project will be the removal of the electronic superannuation audit tool eSAT in March 2022.
Debt and lodgment
There are no changes to the previously discussed position with regards to firmer action campaigns. The ATO will continue to monitor and adjust accordingly for COVID-19 lock down impacted areas.
A member of the TPSG reported that some agents in NSW and Victoria have received debt and lodgment related correspondence. The ATO advised that correspondence campaigns have been adjusted to reflect the advised administrative approach. The ATO advised that correspondence will still issue depending on the profile and risks associated with the taxpayer, emphasising that the aim is to encourage the taxpayer/ agent to engage and seek the support required.
Another member reported agents receiving requests for lodgment of prior year returns. The member will provide further information offline for investigation.
NSW Government stimulus update
A confidential discussion and update on the NSW government stimulus processing and guidance material was held with Service NSW.
- A member of the TPSG reported the receipt of PAYG instalment activity statement lodgment reminder emails that had no client name. The ATO acknowledged this issue and apologised for any inconvenience. An error in the template used to generate the correspondence was only detected post-issue, however the remedy is to be deployed in early October. This will result in the inclusion of the client name in the email reminder, improving the ability to identify who the reminder relates to.
- A member reported that TPARs income pre-filling had matched income to a client incorrectly. The member advised that they would use the Tax Practitioner Assistance (formerly Complex Issues Resolution) service to resolve the issue, however wanted the ATO to be aware that this process is time consuming for clients and agents alike. The ATO acknowledged the issue, apologised for any inconvenience and advised that it will investigate further to ensure the issue is not systemic.
- A member highlighted the approaching activity statement lodgment due date and queried the ATO’s position on blanket deferrals to assist agents. The ATO affirmed that it would not be adopting a blanket deferral position and encouraged people to engage and submit deferral applications now.
- A member raised an out of session query regarding the impact of deferred lodgments on Centrelink family assistance payments. The ATO advised that it has had an extensive engagement and communications campaign focusing on this issue throughout 2021, ranging from cross-agency collaboration and design, changes to scripting and published content and targeted communications in newsletters.
Useful Tax Time resources
Published TPSG Tax time key messages
Records you need to keep guide.
ATO lodgment statistics — as at 30 September 2021
The ATO has received over 7.98 million current YTD 2021 Individual lodgments, which is a 0% increase compared with the same time last year. Of these:
- Over 3.92 million were lodged by self-preparers
- Over 3.96 million were lodged by tax agents.
Refunds* — more than 6.5 million individual 2021 refunds YTD have been issued, totalling more than $17.85 billion with an average refund of $2,744. At this time last year, more than 6.53 million individual 2020 refunds had been issued, totalling more than $17.01 billion with an average refund of $2,602.
Since 1 July 2021, total demand for the ATO’s contact centre was more than 3.08 million calls.
* As refunds are only issued on weekdays, comparing the exact date across different years will result in regular fluctuations in reporting.
A link to the key messages from this meeting is here. (Note: the key messages were not released by the ATO until the Friday following the meeting.)
Body corporate fees and charges
The ATO’s Tax time toolkit for investors has a new factsheet, about body corporate fees and charges, that you can share with your rental investor clients.
Find out more here.
Help for your practice and support for your clients
The ATO recognises that many tax practitioners have been significantly impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic and may be struggling to keep on top of their clients’ lodgment obligations. If you need help at this time, the ATO encourages you to reach out to them.
A list of some of the services available that can help you and your clients get back on track can be found here.