In an open letter to tax agents on Friday, ATO deputy commissioner Hoa Wood said practitioners would soon be able to request a deferral for a small number of clients from next month.
“If you need some extra time to lodge a small number of client obligations, from September, you will be able to call us to request extra time to lodge for up to five clients,” said Ms Wood.
The approach comes after the ATO offered similar support for tax agents who were struggling with lodgement deadlines in May.
ATO and agent-assessed deferrals will also continue to be on offer.
“We understand that COVID-19 continues to put pressure on you, your practice and your clients. Personalised support is available to all tax professionals whenever you need it,” said Ms Wood.
“Our supported lodgement program is available for when you have been affected by issues such as ill-health, the loss of a key staff member, COVID-19, or if you are generally overwhelmed. With your help, we can co-design a lodgement plan to help get your lodgement program back on track for your entire practice.
“I’d like to thank you for all your hard work in assisting your clients to navigate the difficulties that continue to affect so many. The support you have provided, while facing your own obstacles, has not gone unnoticed.”
The offer of ongoing lodgement support comes as the tax profession struggles with increased workloads brought on by the introduction of state and territory COVID-19 support measures that rely heavily on an accountant’s expertise and input.
The stress, compounded by ongoing lockdown restrictions, has resulted in practitioners demanding a review of the 85 per cent on-time lodgement requirement.
The Tax Office has acknowledged the stress of the benchmark, with ATO assistant commissioner Sylvia Gallagher revealing in June that it would look to review the benchmark and provide a concession to those who were unable to meet it this year.
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.