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ATO WARNS ON FRAUD

Wednesday, 01 March 2017

The Australian Tax Office (ATO) has issued a warning about new fraudulent activity it has detected involving the unauthorised use of AUSkeys to defraud businesses including changing the details of accounts for tax refunds

The ATO said they have detected criminal activity where identity thieves have fraudulently obtained AUSkeys linked to businesses. “They have used these to access the portals, lodge activity statements and change account details for refunds.

The Australian Tax Office (ATO) has issued a warning that some taxpayers are incorrectly varying their pay as you go (PAYG) instalment rate or amount. It has warned this may result in a debt at the end of the financial year and attract a general interest charge (GIC) if the variation was significantly incorrect.

The Australian Tax Office (ATO) has issued a reminder to BAS agents to advise clients employing working holiday makers of the need to register the fact with the ATO to avoid having to withhold tax at higher rates.

New tax rates for working holiday makers (backpackers) commenced on 1 January 2017. Employers of working holiday makers were required to register by 31 January to use the new (lower) rate.

The Government’s Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman Kate Carnell is proposing to back small businesses taking legal action against major banks over unfair conditions imposed on small business borrowers.

The Australian Financial Review reported that “Ms Carnell, in partnership with regulators, is on the lookout for a legal test case to demonstrate that it is unlawful for big businesses to use their size to bully smaller enterprises into unfavourable deals.

The Inspector General of Taxation (IGT) has published his Work Program for 2017. Among issues which the IGT will examine during the year are the Australian Tax Office’s administration of GST refunds and how it operates the Pay As You Go (PAYG) Instalments system.

The IGT work program sets out the areas of tax administration that will be reviewed over the coming year.

MOST FINES INCREASED

Wednesday, 01 March 2017

The amount charged for most fines imposed by the Commonwealth Government has been increased.

Most Commonwealth fines are expressed in terms of ‘penalty units’. The Government announced in its Mid-Year Economic and Fiscal Outlook (MYEFO) on 19 December that it would increase the cost of Commonwealth fines from $180 to $210 per penalty unit.

The Australian Tax Office (ATO) has outlined how it will administer the tax discount for unincorporated small businesses announced in the May 2016 Budget.

The discount is due to apply from 1 July 2016 but legislation for the discount which was introduced into Parliament in September is yet to be passed and is tied to the Government’s business tax cuts which are the subject of intense negotiations between the Government and Senate cross-benches.

Federal Parliament resumed sitting on Tuesday 7 February after its summer break, with Senate negotiations over the still unlegislated company tax cuts – including cuts for small and unincorporated small businesses – at the top of the Government’s agenda.

Before Parliament resumed Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and Opposition Leader Bill Shorten both delivered set-piece speeches to the National Press Club sketching their general approach and priorities to key domestic political issues for the start of 2017.

The Australian Tax Office’s (ATO) has invited BAS and other agents and their clients adversely impacted by its IT outages to seek deferrals or seek complex issues resolution for more complicated matters.

In its BAS Agents newsletter issued Thursday 9 February the ATO said, “If you need help meeting your lodgment program after the unplanned systems outages in December and February, additional services and support are available.

NEW ROUND OF ATO IT PROBLEMS

Wednesday, 01 March 2017

The Australian Tax Office’s (ATO) IT systems again experienced a major outage in February causing widespread problems with the ATO’s portals. The ATO said the IT problems were a continuation of the major outage in December.
The fresh round of widespread IT outages has caused major disruptions and widespread criticism.

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