If you haven’t contacted your tax agent in 2 years, and have at least 1 outstanding tax return, there is a good chance your tax agent may have removed you from their tax agent list. The ATO have advised that over 2,000 registered tax agents have removed 180,000 former clients (which would include entities and individuals).
Why has my tax agent removed me now?
The ATO have introduced an 85% on-time lodgement deadline for the 2014 tax year (e.g. 1 July 2013 to 30 June 2014). This means that if your tax agent doesn’t lodge 85% of their clients on time, they could lose their extended due date status. While lodging your return before 15 May rather than 31 October is only reason of many that you would visit an tax agent, if you have a large amount of tax to pay on your tax return, most taxpayers would rightly want to delay payment to the ATO for as long as possible.
Why didn’t my tax agent contact me? -the ATO’s bulk client list deletion offer
The ATO announced in early September that it would help agents to do a bulk deletion of clients that they wanted to remove from their agent list. Most tax agents wouldn’t want to possibly offend their clients; however the ATO’s deadline of 31 October 2012 meant that tax agents needed to spring into action (the ATO in their marketing about one agent taking 2 weeks for a staff member to delete clients, but now used the bulk deletion process in 3 hours). The ATO announced in mid October that they would extend the closing date until 15 December 2012.
So given the timing of the offer, it is likely that many clients may have been deleted without being notified by their agent. Also, I wonder how you put that into an email/phone call (tax agent: provide your tax information or I’ll remove you. Client: ??)
Can I be added back to the tax agent’s list?
Yes – simply contact your tax agent and they can add you back via the tax agent’s portal (assuming they still have your personal information).
What are the implications of no longer being on a tax agents’ list?
If you have overdue tax returns, the extension does not apply. For example if your 2011 tax return is overdue, your 2012 return was due 31 October 2012. If you have tax returns that you haven’t lodged that the ATO considers are likely to be nil but haven’t advised the ATO (for example you were 15, or declared you were a non-resident in the previous return) –this may not affect your extended due date.
I still haven’t lodged my 2012 return – has my agent deleted me?
No – there would be no agents would delete a client with only the 2012 return outstanding (which for a lot of individuals and small business would be due 15 May 2013).
What to do?
If you haven’t lodged 2011 (or earlier returns) – it may be worth contacting your accountant to advise either:
- when you plan to forward your tax information (whether that is in a few weeks or months from now) or
- why you may not be forwarding your tax information in the near future (for example if you are undergoing chemotherapy) or
- why your outstanding returns can be lodged as “not required” Google “Do you need to lodge a tax return 2012″ (or the relevant years outstanding) to read the conditions in full as just because you earned under $6,000 there may still be reasons requiring you to lodge a 2012 return.
Note that if you have lodged your own return, or have decided to use another agent, it is polite to tell your former accountant, so that they can update their records (note that you will be automatically removed from the tax agent’s lodgement list if you lodge your own return.
Who cares if you were deleted?
I think the “did you delete me?” question might be a bit awkward for all involved – and really has no indication of whether your accountant is worth keeping or not (for example it is like to be the more proactive tax agents who HAVE deleted their clients).