Here are some of our most frequently asked questions.
The ATO’s service commitment for processing returns is usually up to 14 business days. If the ATO’s information differs from the tax return information, any refund will likely take longer to receive.
Each year, the ATO will randomly select a sample of returns to perform manual calculations and ensure their systems pick up all the correct information. This is not an audit. In these instances, it can take up to 30 calendar days. If your return is randomly selected, we will notify you that your refund will be delayed.
We cannot take any follow-up action until the 30 calendar days have passed. Once the 30-day timeline has passed, we can call to chase up the status of your return. If we receive the notification that your return has been completed prior to the 30 days, we will follow our usual process to get your refund to you as soon as it is transferred to us.
Your Tax File Number can be found on documents you have received from the ATO. We are working hard to ensure that all our clients have a communication from the ATO (like a Notice of Assessment) available to them through their secure client portal.
It is our preferred method to share sensitive information with you as this mitigates opportunities for identity thieves and scammers.
If you have logged into your client portal and have been unable to find a document available, please feel free to send a message through the portal, email, or call, and we will provide one for you.
We do not recommend booking an appointment until you have received your Private Health Insurance Statement, as your return can’t be lodged until we have this information. If you feel there is a delay in receiving your Private Health Insurance Statement, please follow up with your Private Health Insurance provider.
Scammers and strict privacy regulations surrounding sharing documents with sensitive information have made assisting with these inquiries harder than ever. The solution we have found is using our secure client portal (it has the same level of security as some of the large streaming platforms).
When a document is requested, we can upload this to your client portal, and you will receive a notification it is there for you to view or download. From there, you can choose to email it to your contact at the company you are applying through or print them a hard copy.
It takes some time at the beginning of the new financial year for Centrelink to compile and lodge its payment information with the ATO. Before they complete this, we do not have access to accurate records to complete your return. We recommend booking an appointment from the second week of July onward to ensure Centrelink has completed its processes.
Unfortunately, we do not receive a notification when Centrelink updates the ATO with an individual’s information. And we do not have the staffing resources to keep checking for individual clients during the busy period.
Here is a link to Services Australia that outlines what you need to do to get your Centrelink payment summary updates: https://www.servicesaustralia.gov.au/centrelink-payment-summary
What you need to bring to your appointment with your tax agent depends on your circumstances. Do you have a straightforward return, or do you own property and investments? Do you run a business?
Please click on the link for a comprehensive list of items your agent may require to complete your tax return: Preparing for Your Tax Return Appointment – DJ Grigg Financial
If you are an employee of one or more employers who submit your income information to the ATO on your behalf and you only have some simple deductions to claim, then that would require a simple tax return.
People who only receive government payments (age pension, youth allowance, etc) will also generally require a simple tax return.
Things get a little more complicated when you have:
If any of these apply, then more work is required by your accountant and therefore it will not be considered as a simple tax return.
If there are extensive work-related deductions, these too will push the preparation of a tax return beyond what is a simple tax return.
When an individual has exceeded at least one of the superannuation contribution caps for the financial year, this means they may have to pay excess concessional contributions tax.
If this is the case, the ATO will send a notification letter. This allows the individual to carefully check if the details of the excess superannuation contributions are correct and dispute them if they are not.
When completing your tax return, this information is unavailable to the tax agent. As such, the agent cannot advise whether you will be liable for any excess contributions tax. This calculation is made only after the lodgement of your tax return and when your superannuation fund reports contributions information to the ATO. Any excess concessional contributions assessment may be raised many months after the lodgement of your tax return.
Please see this video for a comprehensive answer regarding when you can apply for the tax-free threshold:
Pay As You Go (PAYG) instalments are, unfortunately, something we have little control over. They are automatically triggered when an individual meets a certain set of criteria within the ATO’s system.
When an individual had a tax payable result the previous year, the ATO uses that information to calculate the approximate tax liability for the following year. If their projected liability is deemed large enough, the amount is divided into instalments to be paid off over the year.
The actual tax liability is worked out at the end of the income year when the accountant prepares the tax return. PAYG instalments that have been paid are credited against the tax assessment to determine if the individual owes more tax or is owed a refund of some of the paid instalments.
The easiest way to manage your PAYG instalments is by using the ATO’s online services. You can view, lodge, pay, vary and manage all your PAYG instalment obligations in one place. All you need is a myGov account linked to the ATO. If you don’t have a myGov account linked to the ATO, you can create one at ato.gov.au/onlineservices
We appreciate the loyalty of our long-term clients. An engagement letter is written confirmation you have engaged us to be your tax agents and gives us the authority to access your information from the ATO for the relevant financial year.
Your engagement letter clearly outlines what services you can expect us to provide for that financial year. This is especially advantageous for business clients, who can choose from a range of supportive services we offer, such as bookkeeping, or preparing Activity Statements. We can adjust our scope of service according to your current needs.
Can’t find the answer you are looking for? Feel free to contact our office.