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ATO stresses deferral options for tax professionals facing pandemic pressure

Beginning in September, tax professionals will be able to request extra time to lodge obligations for up to five clients by calling the ATO.

ATO stresses deferral options for tax professionals facing pandemic pressure
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  • Juliet Helmke
  • August 23, 2021
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Australian Taxation Office (ATO) deputy commissioner Hoa Wood wants tax professionals to know that the ATO is trying to mitigate the pressure COVID-19 continues to exert on them, their practices and their clients. 

In addition to upholding deferral measures already available to help alleviate the stress tax professionals are facing, the ATO will continue rolling out measures to help them through this time, Ms Wood said in a message released by the ATO.

According to Ms Wood, accountants will be able to request extra time to lodge obligations for up to five clients by calling the ATO starting in September. More details on the extension will be announced in the next few weeks.

Ms Wood also highlighted the range of other deferrals already available on the grounds of having encountered exceptional or unforeseen circumstances that might delay lodging obligations, and encouraged tax professionals to continue to take advantage of them.

Straightforward deferral requests can be completed via an application form available at online services for agents.

Moreover, a supported lodgment program is available for agents who have been affected by issues such as ill-health, the loss of a key staff member, COVID-19, or who are generally overwhelmed. 

In those situations, the ATO will work with agents to co-design a lodgment plan to help get their program back on track.

Ms Wood emphasised that by voicing their concerns, tax practitioners were allowing the ATO to understand where help was needed.

“We are constantly making improvements to our services based on your feedback and have recently introduced changes to payment plans and debt management in Online services for agents, making it easier to keep track of your clients’ liabilities across all of their accounts,” Ms Wood said.

Ms Wood thanked tax practitioners for their hard work in assisting clients to navigate the difficulties that continue to affect so many. 

“The support you have provided, while facing your own obstacles, has not gone unnoticed.”

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