In spite of continual warnings that compliance work is drying up for accountants, H&R Block’s director of tax communications, Mark Chapman, said the ATO’s myTax and e-tax limitations highlight a strong value proposition for accountants.
Mr Chapman said there are some services myTax, for example, “simply can’t fulfil”.
“For some more complex tax returns, there are aspects which will never fit into the myTax system,” he said.
“Property is the classic one. If you own one or more properties, you can’t use myTax. You could potentially have a go at doing your tax return through e-tax if you’re an investment property owner, but the tax rules around that are so complex that you would really want to have some form of professional advice on your side to make sure that you’re doing it right.
“With SMSFs, the fund itself is going to have certain accounting tax requirements which you will definitely need an adviser to look after. These are all areas where accountants add value now and they will continue to add value, particularly in relation SMSFs. They’re becoming so popular and so widespread that there’s real opportunities for accountants, going forward, to start to increasingly offer advice in that space.”
Mr Chapman also stressed there is a level of uncertainty for taxpayers when lodging their tax returns online when it comes to what they can and cannot claim.
“If you’re doing it yourself through myTax or e-tax, there’s always that uncertainty about whether you’re claiming everything you’re entitled to, and in addition, whether you’re claiming things that you’re not entitled to,” Mr Chapman said.
“Accountants can tell you what your entitlements are and make sure you’re getting the right refund, and that it’s maximised, but also that you’re not claiming anything that you shouldn’t.
“I think that’s always going to be the value proposition. I don’t see that myTax will help people – particularly on the deductions side – going forward. It’s just too difficult for myTax.”