Paper activity statements, instalment notices, to return (partially, temporarily)

The recent decision of the ATO to change paper-based activity statements to digital delivery from the month of November 2020 has been causing problems for agents and their clients.

The key problem for most tax agents was clients who either do not have a myGov account or have turned off their notifications in myGov.  As the instalment notice is not arriving at the office of the agent, it is only the notification through myGov that alerts a client to an activity statement being issued. However, in some cases it seems that clients are not receiving these. Demand-for-payment letters had started to be sent in relation to non-payment of the November 2020 instalment due to the client being unaware.

But the ATO has now acknowledged, through its Tax Practitioner Stewardship Group (TPSG), at which TSA has a chair at the table, that issues have arisen as a result of the change. The ATO states: “In acknowledging these concerns, as an interim approach, we will issue paper PAYG and GST quarterly instalment notices starting with the June 2021 quarterly notices.”

Further, it has committed to work with representatives on the TPSG, BAS Agents Association Group and professional associations such as TSA “to develop a digital solution that is workable for practitioners and their clients”. It says it has a range of practical support options available, many of these accessed through Online services for agents.

Clients who are self-lodgers should have received an email notification last week for the December 2020 PAYG and GST instalment notices (due for payment by 2 March 2021) reminding them that their instalments are due soon.

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