Identified impacted postcodes across New South Wales, Victoria, Queensland and South Australia will be granted an automatic two-month deferral for activity statement lodgements and payments due.
Taxpayers or their agents do not need to apply for a deferral.
“The ATO recognises that bushfires continue to devastate communities across Australia. The ATO does not want individuals and businesses who have been impacted to face additional stress related to their tax obligations during this time. The ATO will help you to sort out your tax affairs later,” an ATO spokesperson told Accountants Daily.
“The ATO will give you time to recover and work with you to sort out your tax affairs when you are ready.
“The ATO will continue to monitor the ongoing situation and include additional areas and provide further deferrals as needed.”
While the ATO cannot legally vary the contribution due date or waive the super guarantee charge on late super guarantee payments, it will provide additional support by way of fast-tracking refunds, allowing affected taxpayers to vary pay-as-you-go instalments, and processing the change of a GST reporting cycle to monthly.
Tax or BAS agents operating outside of the impacted postcodes, but have clients that are in the impacted postcodes, will have the deferral options applied to those clients.
The ATO has also advised that those impacted by the disaster but are not covered by the listed postcodes to contact the ATO’s emergency support hotline on 1800 806 218 for assistance based on individual circumstances.
The Tax Practitioners Board (TPB) has also advised that impacted agents will be afforded the necessary time to deal with any obligations.
“We don’t want you to be concerned about matters relating to your registration as a tax practitioner — for example, your renewal or annual declaration requirements— if you have been impacted by the bushfires. We will help you sort out your affairs later,” the TPB said.
The professional accounting bodies have also announced a number of initiatives to support those impacted by the bushfires.
Full details on postcodes eligible for deferrals are available on the ATO’s website.
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.