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13 Aug 10 And yet more on the ATO's performance (or lack thereof)

MEMBER 250 writes:

"So much for the new system - I have a client who has been waiting for their refund for weeks - their account has been in credit and now they have GIC debited to the account for the period it was in credit - I checked more than twice in case I was going crazy - but no - the ATO is now charging for storage of clients funds!"

MEMBER 251 also writes:

"When are the ATO going to learn that telling us how well or how much they have done is not important - what they haven't done is all that our clients are interested in - and why tell us so that we can tell our clients and waste more time - they could tell the clients themselves by media release but I wouldn't suggest that just in case they did something stupid like send yet another letter out to the clients via the agent's address."

MEMBER 252 writes:

"Yet more good news on the ATO processing front. Their wonderful computer system that is allegedly performing so well now it can't even produce EFT Reconciliation Reports on time - due to the high volume of refunds being processed!!
 
But I'm sure we will receive an apology from the ATO which of course makes everything OK."

MEMBER 253 writes:

"This week I have put up with the ATO stuff ups and Centrelink payment summary stuff ups - and then I had advices of late super guarantee payments collected by the ATO from none other than the Defence Department - I am trembling in anticipation of a Government organised Broadband network - Advance Australia Where!!!!"

MEMBER 254 writes:

"Just received a warning of failure to lodge activity statement on time for a long time client.  The only trouble is it relates to the BAS for September 2002!"

MEMBER 255 writes:

"This very week we have started to receive a dribble of assessments coming through. It goes without saying that the ATO arm patting itself is getting ridiculous. Their statistics about 94% being processed on time is a joke. My own internally recognized statistics say this figure is actually closer to around 20%.

Today (6 August 2010) we physically received a notice of assessment that was dated the 6 August. So how this happened given the ATO penchant for mail processing delays is incredible. But it was supposed to be deposited into our trust account - this still has not happened. So we are left with a NOA saying that the refund has been processed into nominated account, received on the same day as supposedly processed but no money in the account.

We also have one of our first clients lodged with a small business bonus tax deduction for new acquisitions. Arbitrarily the ATO system decided to issue the NOA with a figure $15odd K (not a nice even $15K just some random number) less than our estimated total income. This had the effect of significantly reducing the amount of tax payable by the taxpayer.

After 38 minutes of calling the ATO to find out why and being transferred through to numerous departments we finally got someone who was able to tell us this gem: 'I don't know why it happened but it is going to be your responsibility to fix this'. My responsibility? This wasn't my fault, it was some automatic thing that no one can explain and my return looks like it ought to. The wonderful suggestion - just relodge the return through TAP and she proceeded to give me the phone number for the Portal people. I very shortly asked why she was giving me this number when it was clearly an ELS issue because there is no provision in TAP to actually lodge an amended individual income tax return. Oops was her reply, her mistake (wrong set of letters TAP/ELS - so close). Damn right it was her mistake. She then very helpfully told me that I should lodge an amended assessment through the ELS system and mark it as an ATO Error. Exactly how am I supposed to do this when there are one two letters that recognize whose problem it is - departmental or client. Second problem is that there is no amendment. My figures are the same as the original lodgment.

Now after more than an hour of wasted time to follow up this disaster I get no relief. When the ATO agent was asked who is going to pay for this she suggested, very helpfully that my client should. I asked her why she would come to this conclusion, after more spluttering no answer was forthcoming and the call terminated.

These continued maladministration matters have been forwarded to my local member but just like the ATO it seems that politicians just enjoy to buck pass as well and it is left to us to continue to follow up continually cleaning up these matters. I am really over it. I have been working in the public accounting profession for over 15 years and am a tax agent with many memberships to various professional bodies and I am in my mid 30s. As a professional person I am seriously considering retirement from public practice. Every year it has become harder and harder with an ATO administration who treats us like imbeciles, imposes all of these ridiculous edicts upon us, extends time frames for processing (without letting us know, yet are quite happy to continually send out email bulletins about other inconsequential things), puts us through this ridiculously long winded computer change program (inconsistent access to the Portal, processing dramas, delays, no answers and continual escalations that go nowhere) and then sends out letters to clients that challenge our technical competence with respect to WRE and rental properties among other things. This all before we even have to work with clients.

To see today that Labor has decided if re-elected that it will set up another board (i.e. complete waste of time and money) is ridiculous. More bureaucratic nightmares – seriously, who thinks this stuff up?

PS
As an addendum to the farcical anomalies above I received today a 2011 assessment. Yes, that's right a 2011 assessment for a client.

To top it off, 2010 is not showing as lodged and of course no PAYG Instalment amounts have been credited for the 2010 year which is what the client is waiting on for a refund.

Seriously, someone had better start explaining this stuff."

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