21 Nov 08 On red tapeMEMBER 2 writes:
"Wow, isn’t it great dealing with the ATO. I recently had a client who was perplexed by their BAS which did not allow the option to pay a set rate. On reviewing the client’s Tax Agent Portal details it was revealed that the annual BAS for the 2007 year had not been lodged. This was lodged manually with a covering letter due to problems with the DIN lodging it electronically.
As usual, the client always contacts you after the due date for payment so the ATO officer I spoke to would not (or could not) allow the client to change to the instalment method of payment. When I explained the client was a simple small business (turnover $40K per annum) and to do a BAS quarterly was stupid.
Eventually the ATO officer referred my complaint onwards and upwards.
A short time later I thought perhaps I can change this client to an annual BAS. I therefore rang the ATO and spoke to another officer. “Sorry” I was told the election needed to be made prior to the due date. However, we could change the client to the instalment system!!!! Almost rendered speechless I gratefully accepted this offer.
The next day received a call from an ATO office in relation to my complaint.
The reality of the above is that all of this could have been avoided if the ATO ceased this senseless practice of disallowing clients to choose an instalment basis when prior BAS returns are lodged late or are outstanding.
I know that in January next year I will receive enquiries from clients who cannot pay using the instalments because they lodged their September BAS two days late. This whole procedure appears to have been put in place by the ATO when they were forced to simplify the BAS system back when GST was first introduced.
Perhaps now after so many years the ATO can fix this systemic problem which creates so much red tape for both the Tax Agent and the ATO officers at the sharp end."