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Australian tax office farewells e-tax

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The end of the financial year is approaching fast and your thoughts may well be turning to your tax return. If you lodge your own return rather than use an agent, there is a key change to the services offered by the tax office.

E-tax is being retired after many years of service. Now you'll need to use the more modern myTax.

Since it was introduced a couple of years ago, myTax has increased in sophistication and this year will have all the functionality that was previously accessible only through e-tax. Because myTax is an online cloud-based service, rather than a program downloaded onto your computer, as e-tax was, it allows instant transmission of data to and from the ATO.

e-tax

Before you can use myTax, however, you'll first need to register with myGov, the whole-of-government portal for online services.

In a sign of just how sophisticated its data-matching capabilities are becoming, the ATO has announced that it will trial the use of its "nearest neighbour" data analytics tool with myTax.

As returns are submitted, it will compare claims for deductions with those of people with similar characteristics and provide prompts such as, "Did you know your claim is much more than those who are similar to you?"

Whether that rather obtrusive use of "big data" goes down well with taxpayers remains to be seen.

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Mark Chapman is director of tax communications at H&R Block, Australia's largest firm of tax accountants, and is a regular contributor to Money. Mark is the author of Life and Taxes: A Look at Life Through Tax.
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