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20 Feb 09 More on the Tax Bonus for working Australians

MEMBER 2 writes:

"Further to ongoing stories of the maladministration of the Government's Tax Bonus, I duly applied for an extension of time to lodge individual income tax returns in the nano second window of opportunity afforded to me by the Government AFTER they made the announcement, but BEFORE the tax bonus became law.

Yesterday I received a phone call from the Lodgment Extension section telling me that my request for deferral had been knocked back because – wait for it – THE REQUEST FOR EXTENSION IS TOO FAR INTO THE FUTURE. Apparently, 30 June 2009 is too far away, and they cannot grant extensions at this point in time.

I now believe that the ABC TV series “The Hollowmen” was not a comedy, but a reality TV show."

MEMBER 3 writes:

"What a mess! What about all those taxpayers and or Tax Agents caught up in the floods in Queensland and the bushfires in Victoria? How are they going to identify all affected clients to arrange an extension. Some do not even have houses or offices let alone phone connections etc!!!!

Mr Rudd should be making a very urgent decision to fix this for ALL Australians and their tax agents. I have been unable to contact several of my clients for a week now. Can the Institute take this up?

Thanks for keeping us up to date."

MEMBER 4 writes:

"It is with great disappointment that I just read the Commissioner’s email received this afternoon. It is also with great disappointment that I was told verbally this morning that my application for deferral (lodged 4.2.09) for all my unlodged individual clients to be granted an extension of time to lodge after 30.6.09 has been rejected by the ATO “because there are no valid reasons evident as at 4.2.09 to indicate that those returns will not be lodged on or before 30.6.09”.

As far as I can see, the people within the Lodgment Deferral section did not understand that the ONLY reason I requested an extension on 4.2.09 was to protect  myself from the possibility of being left with (say) 30 clients unlodged at 30.6.09 who now will not be eligible for the Tax Bonus and who come to me looking for their $900 (which would be $27,000 – something I can not afford). Of course I want all my returns lodged by 30.6.09 because on the next day I have to turn around and start lodging  2009 tax returns. However, as at 4.2.09 I have no idea what might happen to me or my one employee (who is here only two days a week) that may affect my ability to have every return lodged.

The Commissioner has now said that only if there is a bushfire in my town or a flood or I end up in hospital for at least two weeks, should any of my clients be granted an extension so that they are still entitled to the Tax Bonus. That will not help me and now puts me at risk as stated above.

He has not allowed any deferral concessions for Individual clients (the returns that we have to get in before 30 June 2009).

Allowing me to lodge all my Company (5), Partnership (11) and Super Funds ((8) returns on 5 June 2009 (Trusts have always been granted to 5 June if they pay up front so that is no extra concession this time) will not be of any additional assistance as in most cases the Commissioner has granted me these extensions when I needed them in the past.

Therefore, to me, the Commissioner has done nothing to help my situation. He says a blanket deferral for individuals was not possible because of the impact on revenue. Now the  impact will be on me.

As a one-man practice, I already work 6 days plus a week – maybe I will have that heart attack and if I’m lucky, it will land me in hospital for at least two weeks so that I can get an extension until 30.6.10 to lodge.

Back to the returns."

MEMBER 5 writes:

"Timing is now becoming critical because if the ATO doesn't change its intended approach I will need to write to all of my clients and warn them that unless they ring the ATO by mid March and provide their personal bank account details I will need to deduct a fee from the bonus payment to cover the cost of processing the payments on behalf of the government."

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