The ATO has stated it does not intend to extend the reporting concessions introduced for single touch payroll for TBAR declarations, despite calls for a simplified process from the industry.
ATO deputy commissioner James O’Halloran said there has been recent commentary calling for the concessionary approach announced by the ATO for single touch payroll, which essentially allows a single approval process for the entire year, to also be extended to the TBAR regime.
Last week, SuperConcepts general manager for technical services and education Peter Burgess explained that the declarations process for the transfer balance account reports (TBARs) was cumbersome and that adopting a similar approach as the one introduced for single touch payroll (STP) could resolve a lot of the inefficiencies.
The declarations section of a TBAR require the entity lodging the report to obtain a declaration from the trustees, confirming that the tax agent is authorised to report the information provided.
“Based on our own conversations with the ATO and the ATO’s stated position on the bulk lodgement of activity statements and tax returns, it is our understanding that these declarations are required every time a TBAR is lodged, which really defeats the purpose of bulk lodgements as it makes the whole process grossly inefficient,” Mr Burgess previously told SMSF Adviser.
The ATO recently announced concessions for the STP regime, whereby a tax agent can get an engagement authority from their client, which removes the need for declarations each time they report.
Allowing SMSF practitioners to also obtain an engagement authority, which covers all the TBAR reporting up front for the income year “makes a lot of sense”, said Mr Burgess.
Speaking at the Chartered Accountants Australia and New Zealand National SMSF conference, Mr O’Halloran said that TBAR events are less frequent compared to events for single touch payroll and also noted that the TBAR regime was still very new.
“TBAR is very early in the piece and I think the context is slightly different. We’re not considering any extension to the one signature or one approval process for TBAR at this point but certainly we will be monitoring for improvements we can make to the TBAR reporting,” said Mr O’Halloran.
“I think if one looks at the reporting requirements that are relevant for SMSFs compared to payday event reporting, it’s somewhat less, at least once we’re past this initial period. So although those SMSFs where members have more complex affairs may have more events to report, it’s not expected that the reporting will be as frequent, but we are doing some analysis.”
By Miranda Brownlee
18 September 2018