Accountants have been alerted by the ATO that clients with multiple outstanding obligations will get a strongly worded reminder through the mail, starting this month.
The ATO said it was chasing taxpayers who had failed to resolve either payments or lodgements and had shunned previous office attempts to engage.
Collection efforts by the ATO, which were scaled back during the pandemic and recent natural disasters, were resuming more forcefully, it said.
“As we move to a new ‘normal’ we’re recommencing stronger actions, especially where there is evidence that a client is choosing not to comply with their obligations,” the ATO said.
“The new letter is worded more strongly as it is designed for those who have not responded to our previous communication.
“In the past, our communication with taxpayers has focused on either lodgment obligations or outstanding debts. We’ve received feedback that it’s more efficient and effective for taxpayers and agents to receive one letter showing all outstanding obligations.”
Clients with one or more prior-year tax returns overdue at 30 June had a deadline of 31 October for their current year tax return, the ATO said, although this would be extended to normal lodgement dates if all overdue prior-year tax returns were lodged by the end of October.
“If your client receives one of these letters, we hope they will engage with you to bring their lodgments up to date and enter into a payment plan,” the ATO said.
“You can also encourage them to contact us so that we can work with them to get back up to date with their debts.
“Support is available if there are circumstances beyond your control preventing you from lodging your client’s returns on time. Depending on the issues you’re facing, you may be able to submit a lodgment program deferral or additional assistance via the supported lodgment program.”
Lodgement deferrals are available for tax returns, fringe benefit tax returns, monthly and quarterly activity statements as well as annual GST, PAYG and taxable payment reports. The request must be for an existing client, their first deferral and no more than three days after the original lodgement date.
Supported lodgements can generate tailored solutions as long as tax obligations are up to date and reasonable attempts have been made to resolve issues that have delayed lodgement.