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Stricter action in the works as 1 out 3 tax practitioners unresponsive to ATO lodgment letters


A third of all tax practitioner contacted by the ATO to lodge their outstanding lodgments have failed to respond, with stricter action set to follow.

By Jotham Lian11 minute read

The Tax Practitioners Board and the ATO have released preliminary findings from its debt and lodgment program for tax practioners who have personal tax debts with no payment plans, and outstanding lodgments including their income tax and SMSF annual returns.

With specific regards to lodgement, 33 per cent of agents contacted have failed to respond to letters reminding them to lodge.


More than half of those contacted have proceeded to lodge all forms, with 4 per cent lodging some forms.

A further 10 per cent received a letter incorrectly informing them they had lodgment obligations even though they were compliant.

“About 10 per cent did not have to lodge a return but we didn’t have a ‘return not necessary indicator’ on their file,” said ATO assistant commissioner Tim Roach on the TPB’s webinar.

“We’ve also tackled quite a significant number of tax agents who had debt that was not under active management.

“When we first started this program we had about 35 per cent of tax agents who had significant outstanding debt that wasn’t under a payment plan but after contacting them, almost half of all those have put it under a payment plan.”

The TPB had earlier noted that there were around 5,000 tax practitioners who have a personal tax debt of over $300, with no active payment plans, and 2,500 practitioners who have not lodged one or more of their personal income tax returns or for those of their associated entities.

Accountants Daily understands that firmer action will now be applied, after the board’s deadline of 31 January for agents to get their affairs in order has expired.

The TPB will be evaluating the project in mid-2019 before designing the next phase of its longer-term strategy, including possible closer scrutiny of a practitioner’s own tax return.

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Stricter action in the works as 1 out 3 tax practitioners unresponsive to ATO lodgment letters
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