This Tax Time the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) is helping taxpayers to get their tax returns right through pop-up shops and the Tax Help program. Announcing this year’s pop-up locations, Assistant Commissioner Kath Anderson said both services help thousands of people each year.
“Each service meets a different community need, with pop-ups making it easier for people to connect to the ATO online, while the Tax Help program benefits those on low incomes with simple tax affairs, including those who are vulnerable or disadvantaged,” Ms Anderson said.
Building on the success of previous years, the ATO will host 35 pop-ups in major shopping centres, community hubs and even a metro train station.
Ms Anderson said pop-ups are a face-to-face service providing advice and on-the-spot demonstrations to help people gain confidence using the ATO’s digital products and services.
“Getting your tax right can be difficult sometimes. That’s why we’re getting out in the local community. We want everyone to feel confident using our online products and services, regardless of whether you use an agent or lodge your own return,” Ms Anderson said.
Ms Anderson said if you are planning to prepare your own return this year, it’s the perfect opportunity to learn about the ATO’s online lodgment tool, myTax, and other online services to help you manage your tax and super affairs, including our myDeductions tool in the ATO app.
“MyTax is streamlined and personalised to your tax affairs, making it suitable for anyone who wants to lodge their own tax return. MyDeductions allows you to snap, save and store your individual income tax deductions in one convenient place. It is a great way to keep track of your expenses without having to worry about lost and faded receipts.”
But pop-ups aren’t just about tax returns and deductions. Ms Anderson said the ATO’s digital services also provide a variety of other benefits.
“When you visit, we will be able to show you how to use the range of online services and teach you how to do things like set up a myGov account, download the ATO app, find your lost super, lodge and revise activity statements and view your study and training support loan. And if you have already lodged, we can show you how to check the progress of your return.”
Ms Anderson said a great feature of pop-ups is that you don’t need an appointment.
Now in its 30th year, the ATO’s Tax Help program is a free service to help people who earn less than $60,000 to lodge their tax returns.
This year around 800 ATO-trained and accredited volunteers will be at more than 600 locations across Australia, including local libraries, community centres and organisations in metropolitan, rural and regional areas.
Ms Anderson said the Tax Help service is a wonderful example of everyday Australians helping each other.
“Our volunteers help people from all walks of life, including those who’ve fallen on hard times and those in the community who are most vulnerable. The best bit is that it allows low-income Australians to be confident they are getting their tax right.
“We get such positive feedback from the community, our volunteers and centres. Last year alone, over 30,000 people were assisted, and over the past 30 years, the Tax Help service has helped more than one-and-a-half million Australians with their tax returns. That’s enough to fill the MCG fifteen times!”
Pop-ups will commence 2 July and end 22 September. Find your nearest pop-up shop at ato.gov.au/popup