Thinking | 27 May 2020

Further lodgement deferrals unlikely – but it’s not all bad news!

By Michael Parker, Andrew O’Bryan and Adam Dimac

We know this has been a highly stressful time for tax agents and BAS agents, trying to assist their clients to stay above water with the various stimulus packages as well as dealing with the annual lodgement season.

The ATO has already extended the lodgement and payment date for 2019 income tax returns to 5 June 2020 (and 30 June 2020 for SMSF returns) but that date is looming quickly. Accordingly, on 21 May 2020 the professional bodies made a joint submission to the ATO and Treasury requesting a further extension of the lodgement date to 30 June 2020. The submission also requested the ATO issue a statement to the tax profession highlighting the intended treatment of those agents unable to meet their lodgement requirements.

The ATO has responded on 25 May 2020 with the release of a Tax Professionals newsletter in which they state that lodgement and payment due dates for May and June lodgements will not change. We understand there may be legislative issues that prevent a further extension. That’s the bad news.

The good news (sort of) is that while Tax Professionals have been asked to lodge as many returns as possible by the due date, if they are unable to meet it, late lodgement penalties will not be imposed provided the return is lodged by 30 June 2020. Crucially, agents will not lose access to their lodgement programs.

GIC will still be imposed on late payments; however, applications can be made for GIC remissions and the ATO state they will take a reasonable approach in assessing remission requests. In addition, some businesses impacted by COVID-19 can apply for payment deferrals up to 14 September 2020.

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