Income Tax Tax Policy

The Commissioner and the good Samaritan

I am one of those Jesus freaks so when i hear about “good samaritan laws” – being those that compel a person to help or be penalised – i think they missed the whole idea of what made him good. That he was not compelled but did it out of love.

Do you love the Commissioner?

Well if you are a tax agent and you don’t help him you are going to be penalised.

Back in 2003 I was lobbying for the Chartered Accountants and we threatened to lodge every return by paper if the Commissioner did not pick his game up. The threat scared him into giving us great tools like the various portals. He knew how helpful to the ATO electronic lodgement is – no costly and mistake ridden manual entry. He could not have most returns on paper.

But from now, if you lodge by paper and you are a tax agent you will be penalised.

If you lodge any 13/14 return by paper the tax agent extension does not apply – end of October or your client will be penalised for each paper return.

If you don’t lodge 85% of your client returns electronically, in the next year ALL returns, whether on paper or not, will need to be lodged by October. There will be no tax agent extension.

So why is the Commissioner so against paper? Environmental reasons? No. It just makes his processing easier.

So he decides if you don’t help him do his job the easiest way for him he will penalise you – with rules that in the worst case could destroy the business of a tax agent.

The Commissioner says do it the way that helps me the most or there will be consequences… Do you love the Commissioner?

By Ken Mansell

As a stay at home Dad most of the week this is my way of pretending I am still the tax counsel of ASX and SEC listed companies, working at big 4 firms, working at the Federal Treasury, on the Henry Review and at Parliament House for the previous government.

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