SAR lodgement due date extended
The Tax Office will be extending the deadline to lodge an SMSF annual return as it announces blanket lodgement deferrals due to COVID-19.
The new due date for SMSF 2018–19 annual returns will be 30 June 2020, the ATO said.
The ATO also announced it will be applying automatic lodgement and payment deferrals for company 2018–19 income tax returns to a new due date of 5 June 2020.
These lodgement and payment deferrals will be automatically applied to the following obligations due on 15 May 2020.
SMSF clients affected by bushfires will have the lodgement due date for their annual returns extended to 30 June 2020, while bushfire-impacted company, individual or trust clients can lodge until 5 June 2020.
2018–19 income tax returns for individuals, partnerships and trusts can be lodged by the 5 June concessional due date, provided clients pay any liability by this date.
Further, the lodgement and payment due date for 2019–20 fringe benefits tax (FBT) annual returns has been automatically deferred to 25 June 2020.
The ATO also said that tax agents will not be adversely affected if they don’t meet the 85 per cent lodgment program performance benchmark and that it will be working pragmatically and flexibly to ensure that it provides the right support for impacted tax professionals.
“We understand COVID-19 may have a significant impact on you, your clients and your practice. We appreciate your efforts to help your clients meet their lodgement and payment obligations, and we have a range of support measures available during these difficult times,” the ATO said.
SMSF Association chief executive John Maroney said the deferral is further evidence of the ATO’s flexible approach to issues during the COVID-19 crisis.
“In these very difficult times, we have been able to work constructively with the ATO to find solutions for SMSFs affected by both the Government’s decision to lockdown the economy and the extreme market volatility,” Mr Maroney said.
“Discussions, which have included the ATO Commissioner Chris Jordan who attended a recent Association board meeting, and SMSF Assistant Commissioner Dana Fleming, have been extremely fruitful, allowing us to work through numerous issues since the COVID-19 public health crisis erupted in March.
“What’s been extremely pleasing is the positive approach of the ATO on these issues. There is a realisation that these difficult times require pragmatic solutions that might not be in strict accordance with the legislation.”
Novo Super SMSF specialist Paul May previously predicted a blanket deferral of SAR lodgement following comments that SMSF service providers engaging in offshore outsourcing are facing greater supervision and control challenges amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
He noted the impact of those changes on SAR lodgement and whether there would be a number of COVID-19-related excuses being used this financial year to not lodge on time or to cover deeper issues that are emerging.
“With five weeks to lodgement and this being a relatively recent issue, the ATO should know exactly how the industry was positioned prior, and if a firm was not already pushing up to the ATO’s 85 per cent lodgement benchmark, then it was likely not going to achieve 100 per cent under normal conditions,” Mr May said.