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13 Feb 099 On the Tax Bonus for Working Australians

MEMBER 1 writes:

"Have other practitioners with a large client base of individual taxpayers given thought to the potential cost and disruption that is likely to result if the Government uses tax agents to process the Tax Bonus for Working Australians?

Consider the postage costs, bank charges, stationery and time involved. Will the ATO be likely to add time to our lodgment deadlines? Consider how many clients' postal addresses and bank accounts that may have changed since their 2008 income tax returns were processed. The amount of unproductive work that will be required, for which we can't expect to be paid, will be enormous.

In my view the Government should just post cheques to the residential address shown on the 2008 income tax returns. That way a lot of the administrative costs would not be required to be borne by tax practitioners."

MEMBER2 writes:

"How frustrating is it to receive an email from the Commissioner asking me to do something urgently and his staff have no idea what the Commissioner has sent me?

I’ve spent the last two days trying to find someone else within the ATO who knew what the Commissioner had sent to me, without success.

The email kindly warns me that the only taxpayers eligible for the Government’s Tax Bonus of $950 are those who have lodged their returns by 30 June 2009 or are clients of mine who have been granted an extension of time to lodge late (after 30 June 2009); however, such extension of time must have been granted by the Commissioner BEFORE this new Tax Bonus becomes law. The Commissioner’s email asked me to urgently contact the Lodgment Deferral section if I thought this may cause me problems with my lodgment program.

Well I did ring the number he gave me in the email but no one knew what the heck I was talking about – you should ring the special Tax Bonus Hot Line but I said the Commissioner told me to ring you - well then you should ring the Relationship Management section. So I tried that but again no one knew anything about the Commissioner’s email.

I can’t risk having possibly 30 returns not lodged by 30.6.09 and then those clients coming to me for their $950 each that the Government will refuse to pay them unless they have an extension and I did nothing at the time to try to get them an extension.

So I’ve had to lodge a Lodgment Deferral Extension request on 4 February for every client I have that is still not lodged (hundreds) asking for an extension to lodge after 30 June 2009. Hopefully all of you out there did the same thing!!!!

The Government is hoping to have the law passed “tomorrow” subject to the Senate Enquiry. So I called the Lodgment Deferral section on 5 February and asked if they had processed my application yet for an extension of time on hundreds of returns. I was asked when I lodged the request – I said yesterday – and there was silence – and then the usual answer that the current service standard was 28 days or whatever. I asked whether that info could be relayed to the Senate Enquiry so that they could take it easy for 28 days to allow the Commissioner time to grant each of my clients an extension of time in which to lodge after 30 June 2009 before the law was passed. No reply.

I’m feeling a bit peeved."

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