MEMBER 323 writes:
"Firstly, I really appreciate Members discussing their problems encountered with the ATO & suggested solutions. Each of our practices must run more efficiently because of this forum offered by the Taxation Institute.
Cold callers from ATO
Ages ago a Member complained that the ATO cold called & demanded his & his client's data before discussing the problem. This has just happened to me so I said to put the problem in writing. A letter duly arrived, with no postal address, no section, no fax number but containing a demand that I phone a number & provide my & my client's information before the problem could be discussed. I phoned the Tax Agents dedicated number who confirmed it was a bona fide ATO letter, but even she could not transfer me to the person. Lesson learnt. Don't waste time with cold callers from ATO.
More on postal addresses
Clients have become educated that the ATO ignores postal addresses & uses residential addresses. This correspondence infers that their deductions have been incorrectly claimed (meaning they have used an incompetent tax advisor). So, when they receive an email purporting to be from the ATO advising that the Assessment is incorrect & a further refund is due, what could be more normal. The ATO's actions only assist scammers. Fortunately, clients notify me first.
I am changing some of my clients' residential addresses to my business address but am reluctant to do so for every client, as suggested by an earlier member.
It would be preferable for the ATO to ONLY USE the postal address. Then I can say with certainty to my clients that, unless the communication comes through me, it should be totally ignored & treated as a scam.
Garnishee of lump sums from FTB
I do not have the time or energy to determine the legality of ATO's actions, but do question whether it is legal for the ATO to routinely garnishee Family Tax Benefit (FTB) to offset a tax debt. The debt is not due for payment until 21 March 2011 but FTB paid as a lump sum on reconciliation is garnisheed now to extinguish the debt."