The ATO had originally advised that from December 2019, any ‘date of death’ (‘DOD’) tax returns could not be lodged electronically, requiring tax practitioners to resort to lodging paper returns for deceased clients (unless of course, the tax agent was personally appointed as the deceased person’s legal personal representative (‘LPR’)).
This was primarily because, technically, the ATO was not permitted under the Taxation Administration Act 7953 (‘TAA 1953’) to provide any relevant tax information of a deceased person via its ‘Online services for agents’ to anyone other than an appropriately appointed Legal Personal Representative (‘LPR’) (e.g., an executor or administrator).
This included any former tax agent of the deceased person or an appointed tax agent of an appropriately appointed LPR of the deceased person.
Thankfully from 15 May 2020, a tax agent, BAS agent or legal practitioner engaged by an appropriately appointed LPR can now be recognised as an authorised contact on a deceased person’s ATO records.
This change was directly as a result of the ATO exercising its remedial power (contained in the TAA 1953) to modify the operation of the tax law by way of a Legislative Instrument.
Furthermore, an agent is now also able to add a deceased person to their client list through the ATO’s ‘Online services for agents’ when they complete a declaration advising that they have been engaged by the LPR to act on their behalf, in their capacity as executor or administrator.
However, despite these changes, the ATO’s website continued to advise that all DOD returns could only be lodged in paper format. Importantly, however, we have recently confirmed with the ATO that as a result of the above-mentioned amendments to the TAA, it will now permit tax practitioners to digitally lodge a DOD return (via the Practitioner Lodgment Service (‘PLS’)) for a deceased person.
Note that this can only be done once the tax agent has been appointed by the appropriate LPR and added the deceased person to their client list.
Read more about lodging date of death tax returns on the ATO website.
Please contact our office on (08) 9392 7600 if you would like to speak to one of our specialised tax agents regarding this matter.