The government’s proposed tax cuts have now been tabled for introduction into the Senate, with hopes it will be passed before the ATO begins issuing refunds to taxpayers.
Treasury Laws Amendment (Tax Relief So Working Australians Keep More of Their Money) Bill is the only bill that has been scheduled for debate when the 46th Parliament sits for the first time, in the first week of July.
Stage one of the tax cuts will double the end-of-year rebate for low and middle-income earners, from $530 to $1,080.
The ATO has gone on the record to explain they will automatically amend assessments to add additional credits should the bill be passed after they process taxpayers’ 2018–19 tax returns.
Tax agents and taxpayers will not need to request amendments.
Speaking to My Business’s sister title Accountants Daily, TaxBanter senior tax trainer Robyn Jacobson said it would be ideal for the bill to be passed and enacted before the ATO begins issuing refunds from 16 July.
“If it is delayed and we’re looking at late July or August or September, the ATO can only administer the law as enacted so they retrospectively apply the tax cuts,” Ms Jacobson said.
“That wouldn’t require tax agents or taxpayers to lodge an amended tax return or request an amended assessment. The ATO will do this automatically, but it just becomes a bit untidy for taxpayers who lodge based on one expected outcome and may end up with an amended assessment if the law is delayed.”
The risk of lodging early
Further, with the introduction of Single Touch Payroll, employers have been given until 31 July to finalise their Single Touch Payroll data in the 2018–19 financial year, meaning taxpayers could be relying on unfinalised data if they lodge early in July.
“Given employers don’t have to finalise data until the end of July, and given that we are still waiting to see the outcome of the tax cuts over the next week, it would be advisable not to rush into lodging tax returns next week,” Ms Jacobson said.
Likewise, The Institute of Public Accountants general manager of technical policy Tony Greco previously said that it may be advisable for taxpayers to wait it out this year for a more complete picture of the changes.
“Our advice is that, unless you have certainty and completeness around the information used to finalise your return, we are encouraging all taxpayers to rethink lodging returns early this year especially in light of the above changes,” Mr Greco said.
Adam Zuchetti is the editor of My Business, and has steered the publication’s editorial direction since early 2016.