How will you be doing your taxes?

How will you be doing your taxes?

Summary: It's not something many of us look forward to, and every year it just seems to get worse. We're speaking, of course, about tax time.


It's not something many of us look forward to, and every year it just seems to get worse. We're speaking, of course, about tax time.

When mid-year rolls around, we have enough to deal with simply finding the quickest and most efficient way possible to get it all over and done with. Forget that the government is not helping by preventing us from being able to use our Macs and Linux-based computers. Now even the scammers are out to make the whole experience more of a problem!

But hopefully we shall all emerge unscathed once this is all over. So this year, using the poll below, tell us how will you be filing your tax returns. Good luck!

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Topics: Government, Government AU

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  • According to ATO statistics that was released last month, over 70% of the people will choose to use a tax agent. ATO (along with other agencies) have finally realised that they suck at front end software development ( ie E-Tax, ECI, E-Record etc) and are slowly winding down these software and letting the software developers to do the job. Furthermore, with new technologies such as Standard Business Reporting (which will be extended to Personal Income Tax lodgement for next year) there is little point to continue development of E-Tax. SBR intake is increasing and within the year you'll see products that are capable of lodging your tax return from your friendly software vendor.

    Aah so you scream "BUT IT WONT BE FREE!!!". Yes, very much so. But most of us already pay for a tax agent or have been stung with incorrect lodgement. So in reality are you actually saving money ?

    Still you scream "BUT IT WON'T BE FREE!!!". Well, I am pretty sure there will be free versions of software available once the open source community gets into tax lodgement software. Maybe.
    Azizi Khan
  • Nice comment, Fred. It will be interesting to see if the result match up with your predictions. We're running the same poll over on BNET for the non-tech audience. Will we see a big difference? Will comment later to let you know.
    • Can you provide us the link to the BNET poll ? I'll see if I can dig up the ATO stats they published last month. Thanks!
      Azizi Khan
      • Hi Fred, Here it is:
  • My understanding of the future of lodging your tax returns is that you may not have to lodge one at all (as per UK), that is, for the majority of the standard "I" returns. The ATO have or will have all your financial details and will probably allow you $500 worth of deductions automatically. So if you dont have any deductions totalling more than $500, you dont have to do anything. If you have potentially more than $500, then go see a tax agent who will be the the "de facto" frontline for the ATO
  • Just as an addendum to the above comment, the ATO's Tax Agent Portal still sucks big time. Tax agents will have huge problems again this tax season logging in and obtaining the pre-fills
    • You are right Bedouin88, that is the way ATO is heading. For most people, this would be fine but some people will have a lot of deductions and they will still need to seek an agent. Some tax returns are also tied up to the company returns for those who have businesses.

      Yes Tax Agent Portal sucks. ATO knows this, which is why ATO has invested hundreds of millions on the next generation lodgement facility with the Standard Business Reporting program. ATO and Treasury have been working with software developers over the past three years to deliver these products to market. (Just google "SBR BAS Lodgement" and you'll see a few products that are now lodgement capable. )

      The biggest issue here is that the public doesn't know about the SBR initiative, except for those of us who follow these things out of interest. Even ZDNet hasn't covered this program over a year since its launch. So the better the promotion, the faster everyone can move to the modern SBR platform and the quicker legacy systems like the Tax Agent Portal can be put to its death.
      Azizi Khan
  • Hi Fred,

    We have reported on the SBR:

    And the open source link to it:

    However, there's likely scope for some further coverage. Thanks for the comments.
  • Hi Suzanne,
    Thanks for your comment. As mentioned, the links are nearly one year old since the SBR program was launched on 1st July 2010. Perhaps it is time for a review of the program and how is it benefiting the Australian public. As mentioned there are number of software developers who have released SBR products into the market as well. Since SBR is supposed to be a time and money saver (thats one of the aims of SBR), these product could be looked into as well.

    People like me who are always on the lookout for government driven initiatives (especially from ATO ) would find it a worthwhile read since not only ATO is the largest revenue collector, it is also the largest revenue spender! :)
    Azizi Khan
  • There are so many facets to tax law I reckon you will almost always get a better result using a tax agent. If you do it yourself you'll miss something and pay more - and I doubt the tax office will point it out to you. I do my BAS online, then get a tax agent to help see if I have overpaid my personal tax through the year.