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MEMBER 70 writes:

"We recently lodged 3 BASs simultaneously for a taxpayer which were late. Two resulted in liabilities and the third resulted in a refund greater than the aggregated liability of the other two BASs. Guess what! We got a phone call from the ATO a couple of days later demanding payment. When we asked about the third BAS refund, they advised that it wouldn't be processed for another 28 days. I have seen the comments in TAXVINE about similar stories and thought you were all embellishing these stories just a little, but obviously not! We told them politely to go away until they had processed the refund.

Just two weeks earlier, I had a call from ATO debt collection advising that a client's 2010 tax bill was overdue. I checked the Portal and yes, there was a tax bill that was due on 21 March 2011. I checked our system for an assessment and could not find one. When I asked the ATO officer about the assessment they advised that no assessment had actually issued yet due to an ATO error. So I asked that she send it out immediately and we will have the client pay it. The response...wait for it, "We don't expect the assessment to issue for at least another 28 days, but we will need the taxpayer to make immediate payment to avoid the imposition of GIC". I told her politely to refer to the Taxpayers Charter and also the ATO receivables Policy but she didn't care and simply demanded payment. Result, no assessment to date, however I have asked the client to pay the bill to avoid hassles.

The ATO know exactly what they are doing and they have been given very clear and concise instructions from the Commissioner (confirmed from a source inside the ATO), to aggressively pursue every taxpayer for all debts on the day after they fall due. This has come from the Minister's office. The government is struggling to replenish the cash from their Stimulus Package that apparently saved the world from financial ruin. We have more aggression to come from the ATO so hold on to your pants!"

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