11 Aug 066 ATO contacting clients directAs discussed under the ATPF report (see item 1 of this edition of TAXVINE), the ATO advised at the ATPF that their initial contact with tax agents or their clients (either verbal or written) will be directed to the preferred address for service of notice, or address for telephone contact held in ATO systems. If the ATO has not received a response from the tax agent within a reasonable time, the ATO may contact the taxpayer directly. Notwithstanding the above principles, the ATO further indicated that:
“...there will be certain situations where the Tax Office will contact the taxpayer directly. While not an exhaustive list, examples of such situations may include:
- Where legal documents or other notices are required by law to be served personally on a taxpayer, or at the registered office of a company.
- Where contact through the tax practitioner may lead to undue delay/risk in administering the tax laws.
- Where the tax practitioner for the taxpayer's type of taxation is unable to be identified on Tax Office systems.
- Where the contact is for help and education, marketing related, research or product design or testing, the contact may be directly with the taxpayer. For example, market research surveys, mass mailouts.
- Large business clients - due to the ongoing dialogue with large business, and administrative arrangements such as key client managers and client based teams, the Tax Office will normally contact large business clients directly.
- On the basis of an assessment of risk, direct contact being made with taxpayers in relation to overdue debt.
- As part of an outbound debt collection campaign, targeting a specific set of taxpayers or debt types. For example, taxpayers were contacted directly as part of the recent after hours calling pilot where debts had been outstanding for a long period of time in spite of previous contact from the Tax Office.”