The Australian Taxation Office has once again launched the Tax Help program, a free and confidential community-based tax return preparation service that each year assists around 30,000 people with simple tax affairs.
Assistant Commissioner Karen Foat explained that the program relies upon over 700 dedicated ATO-trained and accredited community volunteers to help people complete their tax returns online using myTax.
“This tax time is a bit different, and we have adapted our Tax Help program to meet these challenges,” Ms Foat said.
“In many cases our Tax Help volunteers will be able to provide face-to-face support to people, however there will be online virtual Tax Help and phone assistance available. We believe that this will meet the needs of most people with simple tax affairs.
The ATO is taking care to protect volunteers and members of the public. Our volunteers will strictly adhere to the Department of Health Guidelines and hygiene measures.
“The ATO recognises that tax time can seem overwhelming to some members of the community and we are taking steps to be as supportive as possible to all eligible taxpayers,” Ms Foat said.
Taxpayers that are eligible for Tax Help and would like to make an appointment, can phone us on 13 28 61 for the Tax Help services available in their area. Tax help is open to anyone with an income of around $60,000 or less that didn’t work as a contractor, run a business (including as a sole trader), or have complicated tax affairs.
“Importantly, the Tax Help program supports Indigenous and culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) communities through designated centres. Our volunteers can also provide support and assistance in many community languages.
The ATO is also offering training to members of the public seeking to become a Tax Help volunteer, particularly in regional and remote locations. Some communities are restricting outside visitors, so we are looking for volunteers within these community to support their neighbours meet their tax obligations. If you are interested in becoming a Tax Help volunteer and would like more information you can send us an email to firstname.lastname@example.org
The ATO routinely translates tax-related material into other languages on our website, in various formats – html, video, and audio. If people prefer to speak to us in a language other than English, they can contact us through the Translating and Interpreting Service (TIS National) on 13 14 50.
“We are also conscious that this year many people have been affected by widespread natural disasters like bushfires and floods.
“Around one in ten of our tax help clients live in areas that were declared natural disaster zones. We are working with the community to secure Tax Help centres in as many of these locations as possible.
For more information, visit our website: ato.gov.au/taxhelp