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Safe harbour obligations ensure that when a taxpayer involves a registered tax agent and provides all relevant information to that tax agent. After supplying the required information, the taxpayer will be no longer liable for an administrative penalty for making a false or misleading statement. The tax payer will also not be responsible for failing to lodge a tax return or others documents online on time when either is caused by the tax agent’s failure to take reasonable care. Safe harbour provisions contain the uniform taxation penalty system, and have shifted some risk from the taxpayer to the tax agent. When the tax law is breached by the tax agent or there are other administrative penalties, then the safe harbour provision is not applicable.

Eligibility Criteria
The taxpayers are not liable for any administrative penalty when the tax agent has lodged the taxpayer’s online tax return later than usual, if both the following apply:

  •  Taxpayers can show they submitted all relevant tax information to tax agent and has enabled the agent to lodge their return, statement or other document by due date;
  • Failing to lodge the return, statement or other document with ATO did not result from tax agent intentional negligence or recklessness as to the process of a tax law.

All the allied information that enables tax agents to prepare and lodge the tax return documents on time are implied as relevant tax information. This also denoted that, the taxpayers must meet deadlines specified by the tax agents to submit all the applicable tax information and authorised documents where relevant. Moreover, taxpayer takes the burden of testimony to ascertain that they have submitted all related tax information as per the requirement.

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