Commissioner Chris Jordan has announced that tax professionals or their clients who are based in Victoria will not see penalties applied for the late lodgement of business activity statements (BAS) that are due in August and September.
The measure will be in place until the end of September, with a possible extension on the cards.
Stage 4 restrictions currently imposed on metropolitan Melbourne have been set to run for six weeks until 13 September.
A large number of businesses, including accounting and bookkeeping practices, will be required to close their offices for onsite work from midnight tonight.
“As the COVID-19 situation continues to develop, the ATO understands that the tax profession is facing a unique and ongoing set of challenges,” Mr Jordan said.
“Following the latest restrictions imposed in Victoria, I want to take the time to reassure you that supporting you and your clients remains a top priority for the ATO.
“Our approach is tailored and empathetic, and we will work with you to ensure you get the support you need.”
Mr Jordan also detailed relief measures, including some that were announced at the start of the pandemic, but stopped short of applying blanket deferrals.
The support options include providing lodgement deferrals for upcoming lodgement dates; offering payment-only deferrals for amounts that may be due; allowing for flexible payment plans; changing clients’ GST reporting cycle or varying PAYG instalment amounts; remissions to the general interest charge; and payment arrangements for the superannuation guarantee amnesty.
“It is still important that you and your clients continue to lodge activity statements and tax returns where possible and meet as many of the upcoming obligations as you can,” Mr Jordan said.
“The tax profession and ATO have a long history of working in partnership, and we are committed to working with you through these latest challenges.
“Together we can continue to provide an excellent service to the Australian community.”
View the Tax Commissioner’s letter in full here.
Jotham Lian is the editor of Accountants Daily, the leading source of breaking news, analysis and insight for Australian accounting professionals.
Before joining the team in 2017, Jotham wrote for a range of national mastheads including the Sydney Morning Herald, and Channel NewsAsia.