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30 Nov 2018 Bugbears – phantom debts

MEMBER 396 writes: 

I know these bugbears have been raised before but I just experienced more bugbears last week. 

For one client, I couldn’t vary the PAYG Instalment for most of their recent IASs and there was no  button allowing me to revise the instalment. I tried to do the same thing with another client who was in the same situation and in that case had no problem with revising the instalment  to nil. This has been so inconsistent and annoying, which resulted in the first client now having a phantom debt that they will no doubt get chased for. 

I have a new client with a final default assessment letter who must have received or should have received lodgment reminders and other correspondence, but when I looked up my Client Communications and Client Dealings lists – nothing was listed for this client. This is a continued failure of the system to actually provide reliable information on correspondence issued to clients. 

There was also a superannuation guarantee charge objection - it languished for some 6 months without word then I kindly received a draft list of expected adjustments (not a draft decision) and was given 3 working days to respond. Initially I had to provide extenuating circumstances as to why I and the client could not respond in 3 days, but after my terse response that an appeal form to the AAT was very simple to do, we were given a few more days. Such a double standard – the ATO takes months to look at an item but then wants us to advise in a few days. 

I arranged a payment plan via messaging on the portal. Apparently it is approved, but there is nothing on Client Communication List and nothing on Client Dealings List to confirm this; again a continued failure by the ATO to provide reliable information on correspondence issued. 

The IAS are new forms and are supposed to work better than the old forms, but they do not work better than the old system forms. 

The wonderful Client Communications List was supposed to give us a full picture of communication with clients so we as tax agents can see what is being communicated, but it still continues to be incomplete. 

The ‘new’ area set up to reduce disputes that is now deciding objections seems to have the same attitude to resolving a dispute, which is making a decision without giving the client appropriate opportunity to review.

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