19th Sep, 2019
The government’s Stay Smart Online website warns there has been a surge in scammers impersonating myGov and the ATO to trick people into giving them money or personal details. These scams can take the form of emails, text messages and fake myGov login pages.
In June 2019, the ATO received 6,444 reports of tax- time scams impersonating the ATO. Emails with links to fake myGov login pages were the most widespread email scam.
The myGov system will never send texts, emails or attachments with links or web addresses that ask for your login or personal details. Never click on links in emails or text messages claiming to be from myGov.
Always log into your official myGov account to lodge your return and check if you owe a debt or are due a refund. You can do this by typing https://my.gov.au/ into your internet browser’s address bar.
Unfortunately, ATO and other scams continue well beyond the 30 October deadline for tax returns, as scammers know many people are waiting for a refund or information about debts. It’s important to watch out for scams throughout the year.
19th Sep, 2019
The ATO says that $10 billion has been refunded to Australian taxpayers so far this tax time, an increase of over $2 billion from the same time last year, with most returns processed in under two weeks. The ATO aims to process returns as soon as possible, and has announced that over four million refunds have already been sent out, compared to over three million refunds issued this time last year.
The ATO has reminded Australians who receive any foreign income from investments, family members or working overseas to make sure they have reported it this tax time.
New international data-sharing agreements allow the ATO to track money across borders and identify people who aren’t meeting their obligations. Under the new Common Reporting Standard (CRS), the ATO has shared data on financial account information with over 65 tax jurisdictions across the globe. This includes information on account holders, balances, interest and dividend payments, proceeds from the sale of assets, and other income.
The ATO has published information about some of the most unusual claims it has disallowed. Around 700,000 Australians have claimed almost $2 billion of “other” expenses, including non-allowable items such as child care and even Lego sets.
Assistant Commissioner Karen Foat says a systematic review of claims found and disallowed some very unusual expenses. “A couple of taxpayers claimed dental expenses, believing a nice smile was essential to finding a job, and was therefore deductible. It isn’t!”
19th Sep, 2019
From 1 July 2018, employers with more than 20 employees have been required to provide real-time reports to the ATO of salary and wage payments, super guarantee contributions, ordinary time earnings of employees and PAYG withholding amounts.
From 1 July 2019, this Single Touch Payroll (STP) reporting system has extended to all employers.
The ATO is now writing to small employers who haven’t yet started reporting or applied for a deferral, to remind them of their STP obligations.
There will be no penalties for mistakes, or missed or late reports, for the first year, and employers experiencing hardship or who are in areas with intermittent or no internet connection will be able to access exemptions.
19th Sep, 2019
In its Mid-Year Economic and Fiscal Outlook in 2016– 2017, the government announced it would change the law to let the ATO report business tax debt information to credit reporting bureaus (CRBs) where a business consistently avoids engaging with the ATO to manage a tax debt.
The ATO has said it “recognises the important role businesses play in the Australian economy [but] when an entity avoids paying its tax debts it can have a significant impact on other businesses, employees, contractors and the wider community.” the ATO, It has released a consultation paper to facilitate consultation between the ATO, businesses and CRBs.
If passed in its current form, the amended law would allow taxation officers to disclose information about business tax debts when certain conditions are met. A business would need to have debts of at least $100,000 overdue by more than 90 days, and have not effectively engaged with the ATO to manage that debt.
The ATO has also reissued Practice Statement Law Administration PS LA 2011/13 Cross border recovery of taxation debts. This statement outlines options available for the ATO to recover a tax debt where the debtor is outside Australia, and sets out how the ATO deals with requests from other countries for assistance in recovering tax debts owing to the other country.
19th Sep, 2019
The ATO has recently seen a significant increase in queries about compassionate release of super (CRS). In most cases, the people concerned were ineligible because they were looking to use their super to pay for general expenses.
CRS is an option only for very specific unpaid expenses such as medical treatment and transport costs, palliative care costs, loan payments to prevent the loss of your home, the costs of home or vehicle modifications related to a severe disability and expenses associated a dependant’s death.
17th Aug, 2019
If tax agent clients’ employers report through Single Touch Payroll (STP) and the clients are linked to ATO online services through myGov, the ATO will send them a myGov Inbox message to let them know that their end of year payment summary (income statement) has been marked by their employer as “Tax ready” and can be used in their tax return and they can access their income statement in ATO online services through myGov, or the tax agent can give them the information.
If tax agent clients do not already have myGov accounts, agents should let them know they do not need one for the agent to lodge their tax return. Tax agents can access their employment data and lodge for them once their information is “Tax ready”.