On Wednesday 6 August 2014, Tax Counsel Thilini Wickramasuriya ATI attended a meeting of the ATO Tax Practitioner Advisory Group to discuss its communication protocol for contacting clients of tax practitioners.
The current protocol can be found here: https://www.ato.gov.au/Tax-professionals/Tax-agents/In-detail/Contacting-us/ATO-guidelines-when-contacting-clients-of-tax-practitioners
The purpose of the consultation was twofold:
1. The Tax Institute and others raised concerns about correspondence being sent to clients of tax agents in relation to dividend washing.
2. MyGov will initially mean that all individuals registering with MyGov have an inbox where they get all ATO correspondence irrespective of whether that correspondence is also sent to Tax Agents. The ATO needs to update guidelines to reflect MyGov and other technological changes.
The key issues members raised were the following
• Reviewing the ATO’s address preferencing system to ensure that it operates in accordance with the taxpayer’s preferred channel of receiving correspondence, and the communication protocol. ATO indicated that it will hold further consultation on this issue.
• ATO’s reliance on the “high risk” category in the protocol to send correspondence on dividend washing. The ATO indicated that in future similar correspondence would be escalated to the Assistant Commissioner Tax Practitioner and Lodgment Strategy Practitioner Risk & Consultations for consideration before being issued.
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