"Dealing with the ATO can be very frustrating but the latest incident is hard to top. We received an Overdue Payment Reminder mentioning among other things, that failure to respond would lead to legal action. The "debt" was for a 2005 return, lodged mid June 2006 & refund issued late June. OK so why the "debt"? The call centre advised that it was an ATO error which (somehow) calculated penalty interest back to 2001 & added the figure to the refund. Now they want the overpayment back. Understandable, BUT there was no advice issued to the taxpayer. When queried, we were told that we should have known & that the ATO had issued a general advice re the position. We may have read the release, but we have 1,500 clients & do not have instant recall or systems to cover this occurrence. We are left to explain the position to the client as if it was our doing.
Not happy Michael."