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Re: Working together to protect our future

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Commissioner of Taxation

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Replies 27

To our ATO Community,

 

There is no doubt these are difficult times. As a community and for all of us individually, COVID-19 has impacted not just our health but our employment, our businesses, and our way of life. I know many of you will be feeling the effects as you balance looking after yourselves and your loved ones with financial concerns.  

 

I want to let you know that the ATO is here to help.

 

Our first priority right now is supporting the community – including all of you – to get through this. If you, your business or your clients are suffering financially as a result of COVID-19, we can help.

 

The Government has introduced a range of assistance options, and you can access many of them through the ATO. Some of them include:

  • getting early access to your super
  • reducing superannuation minimum drawdown rates
  • getting help with your business’ cash flow
  • being able to claim a greater amount for the instant-asset write-off, and
  • faster processing times for depreciation deductions to help your business investments.

 

At the ATO we’re also providing some of our own support measures, which we’ll tailor to your situation. This could mean deferring payments, quicker access to GST refunds, or offering you a low-interest payment plan, depending on your circumstances.

 

Above all we want to make sure that you get the right support for what you need. That’s why I strongly encourage anyone feeling the financial impacts of COVID-19 to reach out, especially here on ATO Community. By asking questions on ATO Community and reading the information on our website, you can find out what you may be eligible for and keep up to date about our response.

 

As Australia bands together to face the challenges of COVID-19, we at the ATO are committed to playing our part. Thank you for your contributions to ATO Community, and for continuing to look out for each other. We’ll get through this difficult time together.

 

Take care

 

Chris Jordan

Commissioner of Taxation

1 ACCEPTED SOLUTION

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Best answer

Newbie

Replies 2

So good to see government leaders on sites like this talking directly to us @ChrisJordan. I'm a sole trader and like many of us I don't know what's going to happen to my business.... The way the ATO has responded to this uncertainty though gives me some hope that we will all get thru it 

 

If I wanted to put my BAS payments off for the short term to help out with cashflow and I'm eligible to, can I do this online? 

27 REPLIES 27
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Best answer

Newbie

Replies 2

So good to see government leaders on sites like this talking directly to us @ChrisJordan. I'm a sole trader and like many of us I don't know what's going to happen to my business.... The way the ATO has responded to this uncertainty though gives me some hope that we will all get thru it 

 

If I wanted to put my BAS payments off for the short term to help out with cashflow and I'm eligible to, can I do this online? 

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Community Manager

Replies 1

Hi @Sparkysparky 

 

Thanks for the feedback and for reaching out to us, we are here to help and work with you.

 

You can find information about Payments and Reporting on our website that will help.

 

The best course of action for you will depend on your current income levels.

 

If you believe that you have already paid enough payg instalments for the year, you can vary your instalments so you do not need to pay more. We won't charge penalties or interest on varied instalments for the 2019-20 financial year.

 

Otherwise you can lodge as normal and contact us if you need to talk about entering into a payment arrangement.

 

Take a look at other new measures the Government has applied that may assist you Support for sole traders and small businesses affected by COVID-19 (novel coronavirus)

 

Hope this helps please let us know if you have any other questions.

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Newbie

Replies 0

@KylieATO thank you for replying so quickly!! Well done ATO 👏
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Enthusiast

Replies 6

@ChrisJordan 

 

Are the deadlines for lodgments of returns going to be extended, for example most 2019 financial year returns (individual, super, business etc.. ) that are prepared by tax agents and accountants have to lodged by mid May under their lodgement programs.??

 

As you would appreciate, due to the COVID-19 situtation there are far more important matters at hand right now than trying to finalize  returns so they can be lodged within the ATO set timeframes, and furthermore with more and more falling ill and tigher government restrictions / lockdowns likely  it may make it virtually impossible for some taxpayers to be able to provide all relevant information to their tax agents before lodgement dates.

 

It would be much better if the ATO were to extend those lodgement dates instead of waiting for a flood of tax agents and taxpayers to seek an extension of time which would place further stress on the already stressed taxpayers.

 

Given that some Accounting bodies have put forward proposals to the ATO for such extensions when can we all expect a decision to be  announced???

 

 

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Community Manager

Replies 5

@dirk thank you for taking the time to reach out to us and share your feedback.

 

It is a very difficult and uncertain time and the impacts are far reaching to so many.

 

So far the community, including representatives from tax practitioner groups have told us that the challenges are diverse and complicated and that blanket deferrals were not a sufficient response. So at this stage we’re tailoring our support to individual circumstances.

 

However we understand that the situation is developing all the time so we will continue to use feedback from the community to help shape our response.

 

If anyone is having trouble meeting lodgement or payment obligations, we urge you to get in touch with us. We have a range of tools and measures we can use to help.

 

We will keep you updated through ATO Community news and on the COVID-19 support page on our website.

 

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Enthusiast

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@ChrisJordan 

 

Since your media release of the 24 March 2020, matters have escalated dramatically, which also includes lockdowns and movement restriction.

 

A lot of taxpayers have far greater issues to deal with than lodging a return which includes how they are going to survive if they loose their source of income.

 

Also, given that in some states going to a tax agent or accountant is not a valid reason for leaving one’s home, it now makes it very difficult for those that do not do everything online (for various reasons) to be able to meet lodgement obligations.

 

As you may be aware the consequens of breaking current restrictions in some states means a person could face fines and or imprisonment, and no one should have to  put themselves in such a position just because the ATO wants a return to lodged by a due date.

 

Restrictions are in place for very important reasons, which also means that tax agents or accountants visiting clients is not viable under current circumstances as it can promote the spread of the virus and places many taxpayers in the high risk category in extreme danger. 

 

It is my understanding that both the NTAA and CPA Australia have put forward proposals to extend lodgement time frames and hence the initial question.

 

So again I ask, when is a decision going to be announced.

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Community Manager

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@dirk as you’ve said, the situation is changing very quickly, and we’re working with the Australian Government to manage it as it evolves. This includes working through a range of issues, intel and client feedback to form the right response at the right time.

 

At this stage, we’re not offering blanket deferrals. Instead, we’re working with people on a case by case basis to provide flexibility and support around lodgements and payments. As we’re receiving new information all the time we will continue to adapt our response, so our approach may change in the future. But right now we are focussed on providing tailored responses and support to our clients and get them through these tough times. Please keep checking back and providing feedback. We appreciate it and we’re listening.

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Dynamo

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Hi @dirk 

 

Most Tax agents or Accountants should have the ability to help you without a face to face consultation.    I have been using my accountant for over 3 years and only just meet him face to face a few months ago.  They have the ability to lodge your returns electronically themselves.  There is many avenues you can use to have a virtual meeting TeamViewer, zoom, skype, MS teams etc etc.   Your accountant or tax agent should be able to provide you with this communication.    If they can't in this climate maybe it is time to look for a new one.

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Enthusiast

Replies 1

@NicolaATO 

 

I think we all understood what you posted the first time.

 

We were hoping that @ChrisJordan would be good enough to address the issue and give some direct input.

 

@ChrisJordan it would be greatly appreciated if you could provide a response.