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MEMBER 124 writes:
“I have had enough. When will the ATO recognise the work agents do and the pressures/workload we are under?
Latest ridiculous request: a BAS review for a quarter.

I received the email request from the ATO on the 30th May. As I am swamped with remaining 2012 lodgements, tax planning and FBT returns at this time, I didn’t even open it, believing I could get onto it the following week. I then received another email advising I hadn’t responded in time – yep, by the 4th June. Five business days – five business days! What a joke.

The ATO can’t even respond to a phone call in 48 hours, has a ‘standard’ response time of 28 days, an escalation period of 14 days, yet I have to have the information from the client, two schedules completed and returned to them in just five days. Lucky it was a quiet time for us agents!
I also have a ‘Lodgment Delayed Return’. It is a 2008 return for a client, and has been on my ‘delayed return list’ since the 30th October 2012 and is still there. That’s right, October 2012 or seven months (and counting) to check a return, and I only get five business days to prepare schedules and obtain information. Wake up ATO or you will start a revolt from the Tax Agent community. Start working with us, or we will all go and find something else to do. I’d like to see your lodgment performance stats then!

When will the professional bodies demand that we agents are given the same standard response time as the ATO gives themselves – 28 days? We can then schedule this in to our workloads and respond in a decent time. Not be threatened with amended BASs disallowing claims, penalties and GIC etc.
Can the professional bodies take this up with them and represent your members?
(And add the Tax Lodgement program to your list also. It has not changed in over 10 years, but the workload is more and more, all into the same time frame. Making 2013 late if 2012 is late is not fair and places undue pressure, stress and costs on to the poor agents.)”

THE TAX INSTITUTE’S TAX COUNSEL, STEPHANIE CAREDES, COMMENTS: “The Tax Institute actively advocates for its members in respect of members’ dealings with the ATO. Members should be assured that their interests and concerns are being looked after.”