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Little point changing lodgement date, says CPA


The ATO remains in limbo on vital pre-fill data despite giving the green light to returns. 

By Josh Needs4 minute read

Missing pre-fill information vital for tax returns has still to be filed with the ATO one week after its lodgement green light but there is little point changing the date, according to CPA Australia.


Moving the lodgement timetable would fail to solve the issue, said the senior manager of tax policy, Elinor Kasapidis, even though it was a perennial plea from the profession.

“Our members raise it every single year and we do have conversations with the ATO about the lodgement program more generally,” said Ms Kasapidis.

“We are very cautious about a suggestion that you need to prohibit taxpayers from lodging until there is 100 per cent of prefill data available.

“The ATO is collecting increasing volumes of prefill so that is going to be a neverending problem if you try to delay until all prefill or data-matched information is available.”

Every year the ATO warns taxpayers and accountants against lodgement before it has the chance to gather essential pre-fill information. It gave the go-ahead to file last week although on Wednesday (3 August) it was still waiting for data from a long list of banks and major companies. 

They included:

  • Interest income data: 
    • Auswide Bank Ltd 
    • Citigroup Pty Limited 
    • Macquarie Bank Limited 
    • Suncorp-Metway Limited
  • Dividend income data: 
    • ANZ Banking Group Limited 
    • AMP Limited 
    • Ansell Limited
    • Invocare Limited 
    • WAM Capital Limited

An ATO spokesperson reiterated that taxpayers should wait until pre-fill data was complete before lodging and the filing timetable would stay.

“We currently have no plans to change the lodgement date,” said an ATO spokesperson.

“However, we remind taxpayers that they are more likely to have their return adjusted or experience a delay in the payment of any refund if they lodge their return before all their income has been entered.”

Ms Kasapidis said that rather than a change in the lodgement date the implementation of technology such as real-time reporting could provide a better outcome.

“Our view is that over the longer-term real-time reporting might start to actually alleviate some of these problems,” she said. 

“Look at STP, for example – finalising that becomes very quick because they have been doing it throughout the year. 

“It may be as data and technology improves real-time reporting will address some of the issues that taxpayers are facing rather than try and play around with the lodgement due date.”

Ms Kasapidis also said that while pre-fill information was an asset, those filing early needed to ensure the return was accurate. 

“The taxpayer needs to make sure they are fully disclosing everything and if they are not using prefill that the numbers they are giving to their tax agent are correct and that is sometimes a really challenging conversation to have,” said Ms Kasapidis.

“We operate in a self-assessment tax system so ultimately prefill is definitely a help.

“But if a taxpayer is going to rely on prefill then they need to work within the systems and the availability of the data, but ultimately under a self-assessment system taxpayers can lodge as soon as the tax office systems become available.”

The ATO said that it was continuing to gather pre-fill information and informing individuals when their return was ready to be submitted.

“Most of the information, which is generally wages, health insurance and interest income from banks, for the vast majority of people will be available in prefill in July,” said the ATO spokesperson.

“We acknowledge that there is information that continues to be provided after July, and we work with these providers to ensure that we receive it as early as possible.

“We let people know when their prefill is ready through messages in MyGov and note that those who lodge their return with a registered tax agent often have more time to lodge.”

Little point changing lodgement date, says CPA
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Josh Needs

Josh Needs


Josh Needs is a journalist at Accountants Daily and SMSF Adviser, which are the leading sources of news, strategy, and educational content for professionals in the accounting and SMSF sectors.

Josh studied journalism at the University of NSW and previously wrote news, feature articles and video reviews for Unsealed 4x4, a specialist offroad motoring website. Since joining the Momentum Media Team in 2022, Josh has written for Accountants Daily and SMSF Adviser.

You can email Josh on: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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