At this time of year in Australia accountants are turning their mind to tax deadlines. First 31 March and then most importantly for most, 15 May. I trust you are on top of what you wanted to get done before 15 May. The pandemic has added to the workload and I know many firms have found this challenging. Some are telling me they are behind where they’d like to be, although others are on top of things.
I understand there is some scope for certain lodgments to be by 6 June and if you are not across that you can see the ATO guidance here: Individuals and trusts | Australian Taxation Office (ato.gov.au). More broadly you can update your knowledge on the ATO’s lodgment framework here: Lodgment program framework | Australian Taxation Office (ato.gov.au)
This is not formal advice but rather a list of some things I hear firms talking about dealing with:
- Review tax lodgement lists to make sure you don’t have anyone listed who should not be – no point in getting pinged by the ATO for people who are no longer your clients
- Chase clients who have been slow to provide information required for compliance work completion
- Review extension arrangements for clients
- Write off bad debts
- Look at management fees and service agreements
- Trust distribution resolutions
- Directors fees and bonuses
- Division 7A loans and agreements
- Superannuation contributions
- The usual things you may want to claim a deduction for this year rather than next
- Asset purchases and immediate write off in FY22 tax year
- Any other tax planning matters – for most firms April through June is the time for planning meetings with clients
Two topics that are causing angst at present are:
- Trust distributions
- Professional profits
If you are not across what the ATO is proposing invest a bit of time to get up to speed.
I’m also hearing that the ATO is being more assertive in respect of payment plans and debt collection so it might pay to be on the front foot with those matters too.
This list is not definitive but has perhaps prompted you to think of a few more things.
Some firms are so focused on helping their clients they forget to do these for themselves. Don’t let that be you!
One last tip. If you have not done so already consider a meeting of your key people to quickly go through a list of things needed to be done by 15 May so nothing is missed. Having worked in five firms myself and been through a lot of 15 Mays, I know how easy it can be to miss something. A short check in now might stop regrets because something was forgotten.