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18 Sep 09 Have machines taken over at the ATO?

MEMBER 23 writes:

"I do enjoy reading other Member comments, I very often agree, but have rarely "put pen to paper" to make a comment, but this is my gripe about the ATO today.

I received a debt collection agency notice regarding an outstanding tax account debt. I thought this unusual as I had understood my client was making regular weekly payments to reduce that debt. I forwarded the paperwork. As expected, I got a telephone call from a very upset client. "Why has this happened? I am making all payments, none missed". As I suspected, the ATO has been crediting the ongoing payments against the client Integrated Account, leaving the Income Tax account still in debit - so off to the debt collection agency. If the ATO had taken even a cursory glance, they would have seen the ICA balance was significantly in credit, the ITA less in debit.

Gripe 1 - why are machines making decisions on whose account goes for debt collection? This action by the ATO has caused trauma to my client that was unnecessary, caused me, a sole practitioner, extra work for which I cannot recover costs, and is resolved by a simple transfer of balances.

Gripe 2 - in this age of technological advancement, why does the ATO take up to 14 days to show the transfer of balances from one account to the other on the Tax Agent Portal? When some of the transactions processed by the ATO can be done in "real time", why do others take "forever"? This really should be unacceptable!!

End of gripe session!!!"

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