ATO, Superannuation

ATO offers dedicated help for SAR lodgements

ATO SMSF annual returns

The ATO will offer priority assistance to SMSF practitioners seeking a deferral arrangement for the lodgement of SMSF annual returns.

SMSF practitioners struggling to lodge SMSF annual returns (SAR) will be able to seek dedicated assistance from the ATO, which has indicated it will treat lodgement deferral requests as a priority.

In an information sheet provided by the ATO to selfmanagedsuper, the regulator stated: “We understand that many tax practitioners have been significantly impacted by COVID-19 and other events and may be struggling to keep on top of their clients’ lodgement obligations.

“We appreciate your efforts to help your clients meet their lodgement and payment obligations during such difficult times. If you need help at this time, we encourage you to reach out to us sooner rather than later.”

Further comments, provided by an ATO spokesperson, outlined what steps the regulator was taking to deal with issues that may prevent practitioners or their clients from lodging on time.

“We have a dedicated specialist team available to assist tax practitioners with a deferral arrangement that is suited to their individual circumstances,” the spokesperson said.

“This team can be contacted through our secure Practice Mail channel. We recommend using this method as this is the fastest way to access the support required.

“We encourage tax practitioners to include preferred contact details and state that they require lodgement support in the subject line, as this will assist us to action these requests as a priority.”

The ATO added it was also able to offer support across an entire practice where it was required and for lodgement issues beyond SMSF annual returns.

If your whole practice has been affected by issues such as ill health, the loss of a key staff member, COVID-19 or you are generally overwhelmed, we can work with you on a supported lodgement program,” the information sheet stated.

“This program is designed to help agents and practices of all sizes when you need additional time to lodge a large proportion of your clients’ obligations and are unable to lodge a normal deferral request. We’ll co-design a lodgement plan that helps get your lodgement program back on track.”

The SMSF Association has also encouraged its members to seek a deferral if they believed they would not meet SAR lodgement deadlines, pointing out that unlike the 2020 financial year, there would be no extensions this year.

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