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15 Jun 12 Member Feedback

When is a contractor an employee?

MEMBER 129 writes:

"Can someone please tell me why the ATO idly sits back penalising individuals from obtaining ABN but does nothing when large organizations such as XXXXXXX Roofing sends letters out to its "Contractors" (Employees really) telling them that as of 1 July 2012 they will no longer receive work unless they are an incorporated Pty Ltd Company.

I have asked the ATO several times over the past 10 or so years why they do not target the firms hiring rather than the so called contractors without ever getting a reply.

Is there at least an ATO department that can follow up on these types of queries for us lowly tax agents. The ATO has no problems telling tax agents to dot the i's and cross the t's yet will not listen to us when we want to do what is right by our clients."

THE TAX INSTITUTE’S TAX COUNSEL, STEPHANIE CAREDES, COMMENTS: “The new Taxable Payments Reporting System for the Building and Construction Industry which commences 1 July 2012 (see ATO link should assist with this issue.”

On ATO ABN madness

MEMBER 130 writes:

"Recently we lodged a TFN and ABN application for a new SMSF.
The application form requires you to nominate an establishment date for the SMSF which, in this case, was 24 April, 2012.
Can someone at the ATO explain to me then, why, despite a start date in April 2012, they now require us to lodge a 2011 Income Tax Return?
And here's the kicker - despite the fact that the ATO system clearly has a flaw in this area, you cannot a lodge a CU form, advising that no Return is necessary for the 2011 year.
The software won't allow you to do this for an SMSF and neither will the ATO Portal.
So how am I supposed to get this lodgment off my 2011 list when I cannot lodge a Nil Return (ATO lodgment program advises they will not process a Nil Return for a SMSF) and I cannot lodge a CU form advising there is No Return necessary ?
This is insane.
The real issue here is that this goes on all the time with all types of taxpayers. It is really frustrating and a complete waste of time. For taxpayers other than SMSFs, tax agents typically just lodge a CU form advising No Return is necessary (for a taxpayer which did not exist) but even that is a complete waste of time. Why does the ATO bother asking for a start date or establishment date on a TFN/ABN application if they are planning on ignoring it anyway?"

On ATO Portal problems

MEMBER 131 writes:

"The tax portal was supposed to come back on line on [last] Sunday at 10am and it is now 10.20am and it still does not operate.

Why is it that the staff cannot be bothered adding some message to the log in screen to advise when it is expected to be put back on line?

Quite obviously nobody cares about tax agents having to work 7 days a week and doing their work.

Once again a very poor example of the lack of customer service and advice."

On other ATO problems

MEMBER 132 writes:

"I lodged a tax return for a deceased estate on the 2nd May 2012, tax due to be paid is around $ 245,000 odd dollars.

Called the ATO after 14days to see where the assessment was as the executors wanted to pay the bill owing for the estate. I was advised that the ATO will not look at matters until after 28 days from lodgment. Called again on the 31st May and convinced an operator to escalate matters, advised again that the 28 day time was not up yet, I asked the operator to show me where on the ATO website this 28 days’ time limit appears. Surprise, could not be found on the ATO website. Matter escalated.

Received the notice of assessment today, this has errors on it. The ATO has ignored my notes that were attached to the tax return, not taken into account that the return is for a deceased estate and that we were claiming the allowable $ 6,000 tax free threshold.

The due date to pay the assessment notice is the 5th June, the notice is dated 7th June and received by myself on the 13th June.

When is somebody at the ATO going to correctly programme the new computer and arrange for staff to do their jobs correctly?

This is really not good enough."

On ASIC looking after (part of) the ABR

MEMBER 133 writes (at 9.13am):

"Just thought I would let you know I started at 8.30am this morning trying to simply update a client’s ABN (a Mum and Dad Family Trust) by attaching or recording a Business Name on the Australian Business Register (because some particular Debtors are refusing to pay the client because they can’t match the name on the invoice to the ABN details on the ABR).

Actually started at 4pm yesterday afternoon trying to do it via the ABR web site but soon realised there is now no facility to update an ABN in the way if the update is to do with a Business or Trading Name.

Rang the Australian Business Register contact phone number yesterday = the ATO – they informed me they can’t do that anymore as ASIC does that part of the Register.

I’m in the Business name queue and I just know when someone answers, they will say we don’t do that."

MEMBER 133 writes (at 10.25am):

"Well did get through at 9.20am – ASIC does look after attaching a Business Name to an ABN – 'just fill out the Smartform
on the Web site' – done that – will see whether it worked.

As to Trading Names? No, ASIC does not do that – call the ABR.

Call the ABR (ATO) – “the Register does not record Trading Names any more so you can’t attach that to an ABN anymore”.

Very messy process."