Business News Releases

Deadline for 'DIY' tax returns just around the corner, reminds ATO

AS THE October 31 deadline approaches, the Australian Taxation office (ATO) is reminding people to lodge their returns or engage with a registered tax agent to avoid late lodgment penalties.

ATO Assistant Commissioner Rob Thomson said more than 7.9 million people have already lodged their returns, which is about 400,000 fewer lodgments than this time last year.

"If your long weekend plans are filled with DIY projects, how about you add your ‘DIY’ tax return to the list?" Mr Thomson said.

People with simple affairs can lodge online, often in under 30 minutes, through myGov. Most of the information will already be pre-filled – people just check it's correct, add any additional income, and claim the deductions they may be entitled to.

"DIY projects can get pretty complicated, but unlike flatpack furniture, doing your own tax return can be simple thanks to the data we pre-fill for you and the in-built help. But if you do need some help, you may like to speak with a tax agent to give you a hand," Mr Thompson said.

"Remember to only use a registered tax agent, and to get on their books by 31 October," he said.

To check whether an agent is registered, visit the Tax Practitioners’ Board register.

The ATO is also reminding people to make sure their claims for work-related expenses accurately reflect their working arrangements this year – "don’t just copy and paste claims from last year," he warned.

"We want people to get their deductions right on the first go and claim what they are entitled to – nothing more, nothing less. We have a series of 40 occupation and industry-specific guides which you should have a look at.

"It may be tempting to boost your refund by leaving out income or inflating your deductions – but remember, we have sophisticated data analytics that will pick up returns that look suspicious."

The ATO is reminding the community that the outcome of their tax returns this year may be different than in previous years, with some people receiving a lower refund than expected, or even a tax bill.

"If you don’t receive a refund this year and you don’t have a bill, it means you’ve paid the correct amount of tax throughout the year. You may receive a bill for a number of reasons, one of which could be because you didn’t pay enough tax," Mr Thomson said.

The ATO is also reminding the community that the due date for payment is November 21, regardless of when the return is lodged. Those using a registered tax agent may obtain a later due date.

"If you’ve received a tax bill, you need to pay it in full and on time to avoid interest charges. If you are experiencing financial difficulties, we’re here to help. You can contact us or speak to your tax agent before the due date to discuss the support available," Mr Thomson said.




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Aged care workforce shortages to be examined by the Migration Committee

WORKFORCE shortages in the aged care sector and the role migration can play in helping to ease them will take centre stage at the final public hearing of the Joint Standing Committee on Migration’s Migration, Pathway to Nation Building inquiry tomorrow.

Committee Chair, Maria Vamvakinou MP, said, "Australia is an ageing society experiencing ever-increasing demands on its aged care sector. The committee has received evidence that the aged care sector is facing acute workforce shortages in meeting these demands—a shortfall measured in the tens of thousands of workers over the coming years.

"While we must train more Australians to fill these roles, this takes time and may not fully meet the labour demands of the sector. Migration must play a role in providing skilled and compassionate workers to care for our parents and grandparents in their old age."     

The committee will hear from aged care providers, industry peak bodies, specialists in migration law and the aged care sector, and Australia’s largest skills assessment provider, VETASSESS, who will discuss a recent project they have been involved in for the provision of skilled aged care workers from overseas.

"The committee is interested to hear directly from industry insiders on the workforce challenges the sector is experiencing and how they think migration can help alleviate these," Ms Vamvakinou said.

Additionally, in-line with another key focus area of the inquiry—migration into regional Australia—the committee will speak with a regional development body and a regional small business on the challenges and opportunities they face in bringing migrants into the regions. 

The committee will also hear from the Office of the Migration Agents Registration Authority (OMARA) and their regulatory role in both protecting migrants who require immigration advice and in ensuring the integrity of the migration advice industry.

the committee will also hear evidence from an international education services and language testing provider on the role of language testing and the experience of international students in our migration system and from a refugee advocate on the experiences of those coming via the humanitarian program.

The full hearing program is available on the committee’s website.

Hearing details

Wednesday, 27 September 2023 – 9am to 4.40pm – Videoconference.



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PJCIS to review military secrets legislation

THE Parliamentary Joint Committee on Intelligence and Security (PJCIS) has commenced a review of the Defence Amendment (Safeguarding Australia’s Military Secrets) Bill 2023.

The Bill would amend the Defence Act 1903 to regulate the work that certain former defence staff members can perform for or on behalf of a military organisation or government body of a relevant foreign country, without a foreign work authorisation. The Bill also regulates the training that Australian citizens and permanent residents may provide to relevant foreign militaries or governments without a foreign work authorisation.

The Minister has the power to grant foreign work authorisations and to refuse, cancel, suspend or vary them.

‘Relevant foreign countries’ are any countries not excluded by the Minister in a legislative instrument.

Peter Khalil MP, Chair of the PJCIS, said, “Reviewing legislation is an important aspect of the PJCIS’ role and the committee will look at the Military Secrets Bill to ensure that it appropriately deals with the potential of former defence staff members revealing sensitive defence information and placing Australia’s national security at risk.”

Submissions are invited by Thursday November 16, 2023. The committee encourages concise submissions. Correspondence addressing individuals’ security clearance issues will not be accepted as submissions to this inquiry.

Further information on the inquiry can be obtained from the Committee’s website.



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Parliamentary Committee to review Defence Fuel Transformation project

UNDER the Public Works Committee Act 1969, the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Public Works will consider a referral from the Department of Defence for over $286 million in public works supporting the Defence Fuel Transformation – Tranche 2 Facilities Project.

The works will replace, upgrade or remove existing defence fuel installations across Australia. Defence will also set up new defence fuel installations to service maritime, aviation, ground vehicles and power generation sites; construct a new wharf at Garden Island East in Sydney to support the refuelling of fleet vessels; consolidate redundant fuel infrastructure; and do compliance, minor infrastructure and system remediation works.

The aim of the works is to reduce risk to the defence fuel network and supply chain, building on Tranche 1 of the Defence Fuel Transformation Program.

Committee Chair Graham Perrett MP said, "The public hearing will allow the committee to review the Department of Defence’s submission and report on the purpose, need and public value of the proposed works."

The committee wants to hear from all individuals or organisations interested in the project. The deadline for public submissions is October 10, with more information available on the Public Works Committee website.

It is anticipated that the committee will conduct a public and in-camera hearing for the inquiry in late October 2023, where the Committee will hear from the Department of Defence. Interested members of the public are encouraged to contact the Committee Secretariat if they wish to attend the public hearing.

Note: the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Public Works is not involved in the tendering process, awarding of contracts or details of the proposed works. Inquiries on these matters should be addressed to the relevant Commonwealth entities.



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Intelligence and Security Committee to review citizenship cessation powers

THE Parliamentary Joint Committee on Intelligence and Security (PJCIS) has commenced an inquiry into the operation, effectiveness and implications of Subdivision C of Division 3 of Part 2 of the Australian Citizenship Act 2007 (Citizenship Act), which provides for citizenship cessation determinations.

The PJCIS is undertaking this review three years after amendments were made to the Citizenship Act in 2020 that established the current citizenship cessation regime.

Subdivision C of Division 3 of Part 2 of the Citizenship Act empowers the Minister for Home Affairs to make a determination ceasing the citizenship of an Australian for certain conduct, or following conviction for certain serious offences, relating to matters such as terrorism, treason, espionage and foreign incursion. The Subdivision sets out public interest considerations to which the Minister must have regard, and procedural requirements that must be followed, in making any determinations to cease a person’s citizenship. A person’s Australian citizenship may not be ceased if as a result the person would not be a citizen or national of any country.

Peter Khalil MP, Chair of the PJCIS, said, “This review will provide a valuable opportunity to consider the current security environment and the use by the Australian Government of its citizenship cessation powers. Three years into its operation, the review is an opportunity for the Committee to assure itself that Australia’s citizenship cessation regime is legally robust, fair and proportionate.

“The committee will also be interested in discussing the status of these provisions following consideration by the High Court since they were enacted, notably in the 2022 Alexander case," Mr Khalil added.

The committee has requested submissions to the inquiry by Thursday, February 8, 2024.

Further information on the inquiry can be obtained from the Committee’s website.



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