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MEMBER 1 writes, in response to last week's feedback about lack of feedback and the reasons for it:

"What a fantastic item by Member 1 in last week's TAXVINE. If all tax agents adopted the policy as suggested, maybe the ATO would get the message that Tax Agents are their most valuable asset and would start to do things differently. We have been doing something similar for a number of years now.

As regards the letters sent direct to clients relating to rental property expenses, work related deductions, etc I thought that there were consultancy bodies between the ATO and Tax Agents where this type of letters could be discussed before they were issued. Mention of these letters and their content at the relevant consultation forum would have no doubt raised the hackles of tax agents present and might have caused the ATO to rethink their strategy. But then again, probably not!

As regards the lack of Member feedback in recent weeks, we must keep this up as it is one way we can all show the ATO that we are sick of their attitude and the administrative burden they place on Tax Agents."

MEMBER 2 writes:

"Well done, Member 1. Guess what, we should adopt your service standards and we could call it the "Tax Agents Charter". We can lower our service standards to that provided by the ATO. Of course we could not apply this standard to our clients."

MEMBER 3 writes:

"Thank you, Member 1, TAXVINE 17 July 2009. We have had all of those policies in place for some time but I do like the postal and residential address being the same as it may short-circuit the ATO computers and the rental expense and work related expense letters from being used by ATO as a scare tactic. I was at a recent seminar where it was reported that the ATO were concerned that the claims for work related expenses had increased by 9%. This covered the same period that ATO were increasing taxable incomes and tax instalments by 9% using the GDP increase. Can the ATO computers detect a correlation?
We have been receiving notices relating to 2008 PAYG INB summaries (why not just call them group certificates?). The ATO super computer cannot read the scans as the amounts scanned as tax withheld were postcodes and dates of birth instead of the actual PAYG withheld. If the details were entered manually and then another ATO operative was employed to check the input, it would not be necessary to post out a forest of paper for us to tell them where their mistakes are.
By the way don't you all just love getting a letter to say that the ATO will be shortly dispatching another letter which will include BAS/IAS. Spare us the waste and stupidity, ATO.
Another great favourite is the flurry of phone calls (to which we do not respond) and debt collection notices for GST/PAYG within a few days of the latest BAS lodgment date. Must have some trigger fingers at the ATO as a quick check of the portal shows the amounts paid. Spare us another forest, ATO.
Member Feedback has been scant in the past few weeks as some members may have been hard pressed to make the 30th June deadline or they have made it and have taken a well earned respite to gird the loins for the new year.
There is a constant in tax. It is constantly changing. What a great profession to be in! Roll on 2010."

MEMBER 4 writes:

"What a ripper Member 1's feedback last week was. It brought a smile to my face. My couple of issues concern this year’s TaxPack and the education tax offset. What has happened to all the various tables we use to see in TaxPack? For example, the lower income limits for SATO and Pension offsets. I often get calls from senior Australians wanting to know how much their income be before they need to lodge a return. In the past TaxPack would have the relevant tables, but alas not this year. The problem was solved by referring to CCH and writing in the relevant amounts at T2 and T3 in TaxPack. When it comes to claiming the education tax offset it would be handy to know if the client and spouse were below the FTB Part A income limits so that you get the claim correct and not face amendment issues at a later date. Previously there was a chart in TaxPack for this purpose, but no longer is this the case. A visit to the family assistance website solved this issue. Well that's enough complaining for this week. Please keep up the Member feedback as it is a help for one's sanity at this time of the year."

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