E-tax and MyTax 2014 - To Use or Not To Use

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"Self" lodging this year?

To use the ATO's E-tax or MyTax,  a new identity validation is required from mygov.gov.au. Some people believe it's a very intrusive change and some may not be that keen to have this single identifier that includes super, medicare and Centrelink - I thought Centrelink changed their name to Dept of Human Resources?

Some people believe the ATO's "processing" changes is the "Australia Card" online.
It could pose a real problem for doing family tax returns too. Multiple registrations, each with unique identifiers etc.

The ATO has also made the following announcements for "self" lodgers:
  1. Refunds must be made to an identity checked bank account
  2. Refunds may be delayed in the month of July
  3. Taxpayers who register at mygov can expect an email from the ATO in August confirming  they are "allowed" to "self" lodge using MyTax, allowing time for data feeds to accumulate and update Pre-filling reports.
  4. PAPER tax returns are no longer available from Newsagents.
These "processing" changes aside, the other issues that "self" lodgers must deal with is the changes occurring from year to year. In the past five years I haven't seen so many changes to income tax return preparation since late 80's (yes, I have been doing this work since before then).

And that's not just changes to tax legislation, but includes changes to:
  • case law (ATO more aggressive in assessing taxpayers)
  • ATO opinions and approach to interpretation of tax legislation etc
  • ATO's new aggressive approach to reviewing tax returns
  • significant increases to the amount and number of penalties being imposed by the ATO for late lodges, non-lodgers, incorrect claims or understated income.
  • increased and more aggressive ATO approach to debt collecting
  • and now "processing" changes.

Using a Tax Agent?

Fortunately accountants/tax agents are excluded from many of the above limits and complications, allowing clients to enjoy the same level of ease, security and peace of mind with the knowledge their tax affairs are in the hands of experienced and trusted professionals.

There is one exception:
  • change a taxpayer's name (eg marriage, divorce etc). A new rigorous identity validation is required and tax agents can no longer process.

Memories of Intrudction of the TaxPack

The changes bring back memories of 1987 when the first "TaxPack" was launched (yes, I still have copies). While it was a great "quick" reference resource for tax professionals, it struck fear into the hearts of taxpayers who had been happily "self" lodging their tax returns for many years.

In 2014, I believe the processing changes and the introduction of MyTax, combined with the ATO's far more aggressive approach to EVERYTHING could strike fear into the hearts of many taxpayers.

Copyright 2014. My Tax Zone.