Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Deadline extension.

I hope you all received this message yesterday! Wonderful news. However, we have all come to expect it each year. I wonder what would happen if one year the ATO decided not to give an extension?

1 May 2006

More time to lodge – assistance for tax agents

As agents face particularly heavy workloads in May, the Commissioner has given your individual, partnership and trust clients more time to lodge 2005 income tax returns, annual GST returns and annual GST information reports.

Normally these documents for 2005 fall due on 15 May 2006. The extended due date is Tuesday 6 June 2006.

The extension is not available to companies and superannuation funds. They still need to lodge by 15 May 2006.


Any payment owing must be made when you lodge. Use the attached payment advice slip to make income tax payments.


The automated deferral process (10/10 deferral) does not cover any documents due on 15 May 2006.

Deferral applications for clients covered by this extension must be made on an individual basis before the new due date.

More information

For further information phone 13 72 86 Fast Key Code 1 4 2 or visit www.ato.gov.au and select For Tax Professionals – Tax Professionals home page – Your tax practice – Lodgment, payment & compliance – Lodgment Essentials.

Shane Reardon
Deputy Commissioner
Lodgment Compliance

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Notable Tax Quotes!

I found these tax-related quotes on the site of the Wine Commonsewer (see link to the right) and I thought they were good enough to steal!

“The wages of sin are death, but after they take the taxes out, it's more like a tired feeling, really.”—Paula Poundstone

“What at first was plunder assumed the softer name of revenue.”—Thomas Paine

“I'm proud to pay taxes in the United States; the only thing is, I could be just as proud for half the money.”—Arthur Godfrey

Will everyone lodge on time??

With the looming tax deadline on 15 May I am wondering why I have heard no talk about an extension this year.

Last year (as in the years prior) the ATO announced a two week extension of time in which to lodge. At some point afterward, Tax Agents received a somewhat narky (sic) letter from the ATO partly blaming them for the apparent number of people who had not yet lodged even with the two week extension.

I wonder, will we get the same letter this year? If my lodgements are anything to go by we will. I have two more staff than last year and up to a couple of weeks ago there were still 155 people on my Tax Agents list with the ATO that had not yet contacted us to lodge their returns. A further reminder was sent. This has produced some panicked results but nothing like 155 taxpayers.

Now, it was not as if we were sitting around doing nothing when we sent out the letters, we have been extremely hectic. It seems as if as each year goes by, more and more taxpayers are leaving it until the last minute. Maybe it is a symptom of a much busier life that we all now lead?

We are telling people who are bring their ‘stuff’ to us from now on, that we cannot guarantee that we will be able to turn it around before 15 May. I hope to be able to but I will not promise them that we can. Last year we only had about half a dozen or so that didn’t make the deadline. This year I think that number will be between 20 and 50. Ouch!! I expect to get a friendly visit from my ATO Relationship Manager very soon!

Have any of you heard of an ATO extension? Are you all in the same boat or are you just much better organized than me (and all the other agents that I know)? Are you finding this year worse (ie busier and clients later) than last?

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Early starts and other questions

Is anyone else getting into the office at 6.00am to try and beat the 15 May deadline?

Is anyone else frustrated in their dealings with the ATO? Or am I the only one?

Is anyone else beginning to hate the letters "GST"? What used to be simple transactions in an income tax sense are now incredibly complex as far as GST goes! I could give a few examples if you like - but I don't want this to feel like work.

Is there anyone else who thinks we are going to see a lot of audit activity surrounding income tax, but probably even more importantly GST, in relation to all the property dealings over the last 5 years?

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Who planned this???

Whilst the 15th May deadline looms - I have just discovered that a number of my staff are taking time off between 1 and 15 May!!! No - I did not give them holidays then - I may be daft but not quite that bad - yet!

I encourage my staff to continue professional development and pursue becoming a CPA. (I would have considered encouraging them to become a Chartered Accountant except for that demeaning, peurile and wholly unprfoessional advertisement they ran about CPA's. It is just "small man syndrome" - make yourselves bigger by putting others down. It was sad for the profession and the Institute.) Anyway, I digress. I also pay the CPA Program fees for my staff and give them a couple of study days to take just before each exam - in order to prepare.

CPA Australia (or Deakin University) has, once again, planned for exams in what is arguably the worst two weeks possible in the entire year - way to go!!!

Trying to beat the deadline is hard enough but to try to do it with only 65-75% of your staff is beginning to get ridiculous! NOT HAPPY JAN!!

Wednesday, April 12, 2006


Is it just me or does there seem to be an even greater backlog of work than in previous years? Despite all the reminders we send etc etc it seems that everyone is busier and more prone to leaving it to the last minute than ever before. Now I am sure all the people bringing in their tax work this late don't expect us to meet the 15 May deadline - yeeeeeeeeaaaaaaaaaaaaaaah rrrrriiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiight!!

I wonder how we are going to get it all done. The short answer is - we won't. There is absolutely no way. The ATO may give everyone the standard two week extension - haven't heard yet!

I don't know how I have time to write on this blog - must go

Monday, April 10, 2006

Division 43 - not long to go for some!

Between 18 July 2010 and 16 September 2012 all properties that have been claiming Div 43 allowances at a rate of 4% will cease to have an available deduction. There are many accountants who have not taken this into account and kept track of the start date of the the claims. 25 years seemed a long way away back in 1985 to 1987. I am sure many accountants will be caught out and it will make an easy audit target for the ATO.

We updated our permanent files on all clients with rental properties a couple of years ago with this in mind and we were shocked by the number of rental properties that our clients actually have and that we prepare tax schedules for.

There have been some useful ATO IDs and rulings in relation to DIV 43 allowances released in the past year or so. Especially clearing up the possibility of still having to reduce the cost base of an asset for whichj Div 43 deductions were available, even if they had not been claimed. This IS the case, but only up until the amendment period of 4 years. Prior to 4 years the cost base does not have to be reduced. I am sure this ruling will save accountants from being sued for many thousands of dollars by unhappy clients. This is despit the fact that the accountant may have advised them to obtain a QS report and they chose not to because of the cost.

s152 Small Business CGT Concessions

The Board of Taxation conducted a review of the effectiveness of the small business CGT concessions. This is an area that drastically needs reform and to be improved but there are not many votes in it. Do you think there will be anything in the upcoming budget announcements?

Cash Economy

Is there any tax professional in Australia who really believes that GST has reduced the size of the cash economy? Is it the case that now individuals can avoid income tax AND the GST by not declaring their income?

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Fringe Benefits

My wife thinks I am a minor fringe benefit - worth less than $100 and infrequent.

I am unsure as to whether there are other idiots out there that actually find tax law interesting. Now I don't necessarily mean all tax law - some of it is downright boring and almost incapable of being understood by the average human being, much less a "reasonable" person - thank God!! This is what keeps most of us in a job.

Let me know if there are issues that you want to talk about or discuss or just funny or painful or sad anecdotes you want to share about tax law, or the administration of it in Australia. I am not from the ATO, but am a practitioner in Brisbane. I am not an expert on tax but am interested in learning more and making the correct choices and interpretations. Have I got a hope?