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30 Apr 10 Change Program - Briefing by ATO

Angie Ananda FTIA and I attended the ATO Change Program Professional Associations Briefing held in Canberra on Friday, 23 April 2010.

The professional bodies put forward all the major problems that were being faced by tax agents and taxpayers as a result of the Change Program. These issues included:

  • Refund delays
  • Interest on delayed refunds
  • Lodgment extensions
  • Compensation for delays - financial hardship and cashflow issues
  • Public acknowledgment by the ATO of the issues caused by the Change Program
  • Format issues in relation to the notice of assessments and statement of accounts.

We expect the ATO will make an official announcement in relation to lodgment extensions and compensation issues within the next few days.

As was discussed at this meeting, yesterday the Commissioner of Taxation released an 'open letter' message commenting on the Change Program and its impacts. In it he "apologise[s] if you waited longer than usual for your notice of assessment and/or refund."

The ATO indicated that there should be no outstanding refunds (which have been lodged for at least 28 days) by today, Friday 30 April 2010. Therefore, if any member has a refund that has been outstanding for more than 28 days, we request you to provide us this information at: taxpolicy@taxinstitute.com.au. If you are prepared to give us the specific details of any such delayed returns, we can follow the ATO up on these issues.

Similarly, if you are still waiting to receive interest in relation to delayed refunds, and are prepared to provide us details, please let us know at: taxpolicy@taxinstitute.com.au. Further, if there are any other case specific issues that you or your practice are still experiencing as a result of the Change Program and you are willing to provide us with the specific details of the case, please let us know so we can follow these up with the ATO on your behalf.

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