news The Australian Tax Office (ATO) has announced that its legacy online tax return service e-tax is being retired, with the MyTax portal to take its place going forward.
The ATO’s Assistant Commissioner for Individual Taxpayers Graham Whyte said the ATO had replaced e-tax for Tax Time 2016 with myTax, which has been “upgraded and improved” since last year.
MyTax is now suitable for all Australians, regardless their tax affairs, he explained, adding:
“In 2016, myTax has been expanded to do everything e-tax could do and more, and will be available on 1 July 2016.”
As an example, Whyte said that Australians with rental properties will be able to use myTax this year, and 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,” he added.
First launched in 2014, myTax reduces the time and effort required to lodge a tax return compared with traditional methods.
According to the ATO, the system is “safe and secure”, and can be accessed on any smartphone, tablet or computer.
The 1.75 million tax returns made via MyTax in 2015 marked a 70% increase in the number of people using the portal, the tax office said.
“Over the past few years, we’ve been seeing around three million Australians prepare their own tax return using either myTax or e-tax, so we’re hoping to see three million myTax lodgments in 2016,” 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: you’ll probably have your tax return lodged in a fraction of the time,” said the Assistant Commissioner.
Whyte further suggested that, while myTax is a useful tool for people wanting to file their own tax return, around 74% of Australians seek the assistance of a tax agent to help with this process.
“The community has a choice,” he said, “they can use a tax agent or prepare their own return.”
“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,” said Whyte.
Whyte stressed the importance of ensuring that only registered tax agents are employed for this purpose.
“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,” he advised.