Yesterday, tropical cyclone Debbie and the associated rainfall and flooding were declared a disaster by the Minister for Revenue and Financial Services, the Hon Kelly O’Dwyer MP.
“Australians are working together to support those communities that have been devastated,” Ms O’Dwyer said.
“The government is moving quickly to allow qualifying new and existing funds established for the relief of people affected by tropical cyclone Debbie to receive tax deductible donations.”
Last week the ATO announced the automatic deferral of three tax obligations for people whose businesses or residential addresses are in postcodes across Gold Coast City, Lismore City Council, Logan City, Mackay Regional Council, Scenic Rim Regional Council, Tweed Council and Whitsunday Regional Council.
The lodgement and payment of monthly activity statements due 21 April 2017 has been deferred to 21 May 2017, the lodgement and payment of quarterly activity statements due 28 April 2017 has been deferred to 28 May 2017, and income tax returns due 31 March 2017 now have until 30 April 2017 to lodge.
In an ATO live webcast yesterday, ATO assistant commissioner Colin Walker said that they will continue to review the situation and consider more provisions moving forward.
“In this particular case, we've already provided extensions for the income tax lodgement due date, which was the 31st of March, and for the two activity statement due dates that have come in,” Mr Walker said.
“Going forward we will continue to monitor that and make sure that people have the necessary support. If they need more, it’s only a matter of just asking.”
On top of this, Mr Walker said that those in the affected areas won’t be chased by debt collectors.
“In the debt space, debt has also announced that they stopped debt collection activity for people in those postcodes, and they are providing support by way of different forms of abilities to seek out extensions and removing interest from their debt repayment schedules,” Mr Walker said.
Finally, the ATO has initiated fast tracking of tax refunds for people affected by cyclone Debbie.