Ato kills off etax promises mytax will let you lodge tax return in a fraction of the time

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eTax is dead. Long live eTax.

The Australian Taxation Office has announced that its legacy online tool has been retired, to be replaced with a new web-based system that will allow you to lodge your tax return in a fraction of the time.

Assistant Commissioner Graham Whyte said eTax had been replaced with an upgraded and improved myTax, which was first introduced in 2014, in time for the end of the financial year.

In 2016, myTax has been expanded to do everything e-Tax could do and more, and will be available on July 1, 2016, Mr Whyte said in a statement.

For example, not only will Australians with rental properties be able to use myTax this year, but they will also be able to take advantage of the fully integrated tools and calculators. One of these new tools allows property investors to record depreciation and capital allowances.

myTax can be accessed on any smartphone, tablet or computer. Last year saw a 70 per cent increase in the number of people using myTax, with 1.75 million lodgements.

Over the past few years weve been seeing around three million Australians prepare their own tax return using either myTax or e-Tax, so were hoping to see three million myTax lodgements in 2016, Mr Whyte said.

We understand sometimes it can be hard to change habits, especially for those who have been using e-Tax since its launch in 1999. What we would say to those who are a bit unsure about myTax is to give it a go youll probably have your tax return lodged in a fraction of the time.

Around 74 per cent of Australians use a tax agent to lodge, according to the ATO, typically paying between $300 and $400.

For anyone thinking about using a tax agent for the first time or a different one to last year, it is important to contact them before the end of October to meet their lodgement dates, Mr Whyte said.

Its also important to ensure you use a registered tax agent. Only a registered tax agent can charge a fee for doing your tax return. A list of registered tax agents is available on the Tax Practitioners Board website.

Last year, the ATOs systems collapsed at tax time, leaving many users unable to lodge through e-Tax or access the myTax or myGov websites.

An ATO spokesman said the system had been improved to cater for the issues experienced last year.

Development and testing processes have been improved and processing capacity has been increased to better cater for peak times, the spokesman said.

In the event of any unexpected issues arising, response teams will be immediately mobilised to resolve these as quickly as possible.

ATOS 10 TIPS FOR FIRST-TIME LODGERS

1. Make sure you have a tax file number

You do not have to have a TFN, but without one you will have more tax deducted from your pay and you will not be able to lodge a tax return.

2. Check if you need to lodge

Not sure if you need to lodge a tax return? Come tax time, you will be able to use our online Do I need to lodge? tool that will work it out for you.

3. Know your options

MyTax is the ATOs online lodgement service. If you do not want to prepare your own tax return, you can always lodge using a registered tax agent.

4. Access ATOs online services

To access the ATOs online services including myTax, you will need to create a myGov account and link it to the ATO.

5. Claim your work related expenses

You may be able to claim a tax deduction for expenses related to your job for example, if you have to work outdoors you can claim a deduction for the cost of your hat and sunglasses.

6. Declare your fair share

If you earn money from odd jobs such as transporting passengers or renting out a room or house, it counts as assessable income and you will need to declare it on your tax return.

7. Fix mistakes as soon as possible

If you think you have made a mistake or forgot to include something on your tax return, let the ATO know as soon as possible either through myGov or your tax agent.

8. Patience is a virtue

The ATO will have most pre-fill information by August. For many people, all they have to do is double-check the info, enter any deductions and then submit.

9. Lodge by October 31

The important thing to remember if you are planning to use a tax agent is that you have to contact them before the end of October to meet their lodgement dates.

10. Track your progress

Tax returns lodged using myTax or a registered tax agent are usually processed within two weeks. You can check the progress via your myGov account.

Source: ATO