MEMBER 1 asks rhetorically, and then writes:
"A couple of weeks before Christmas I received an email from the ATO outlining my lodgment performance. To say that I saw red is an understatement. I see this new lodgment criterion of 85% as nothing short of bullying, harassment and cost shifting by the ATO in their never ending war of words with Tax Agents. I summarise from the email:
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If the ATO and the Lodgment Working Group cannot work out for themselves that the 85% criteria is too high, then we have a serious problem. I seem to recall that when this criteria was first announced many Tax Agents strongly suggested that the 85% level was too high and that it should be in the vicinity of 75-80% - which strangely enough is the exact % achieved by my fellow similar sized practices.
The part I found really offensive was this line 'Your practice wasn't far off the 85% on time lodgment performance rate. You may be able to improve your performance rate by reviewing your current practices to help you better manage client due dates'. Here is an organisation that cannot organise itself telling me how to review my current practices!! The hide. The part the ATO don't seem to get is that many Tax Agents are experienced practitioners and know what they're doing. Don't patronise them and me by suggesting we review ourselves - we've been doing this for years and have our systems sorted, efficient and down pat. Get your own house in order please!!
It seems to me that the ATO and the Lodgment Working Group need to urgently review the 85% criteria, it is too high and I doubt the majority of Tax Agents will achieve this %. I urge The Tax Institute to take our comments to the ATO to get this reviewed ASAP."
THE TAX INSTITUTE'S TAX COUNSEL, STEPHANIE CAREDES, COMMENTS: "Member 1, we will raise your concerns with the Lodgment Working Group. Members with concerns in relation to the Lodgment Program Differentiation Framework should contact us at TaxPolicy."