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MEMBER 31 writes:

"We all seem to be receiving these computer generated time wasting letters. The unfortunate part is that if you ignore them the great ATO computer issues an amended assessment. Dear Mr Commissioner, why don't you help the rest of the world and take your staff and computer to Greece and do some real good!

We had a client receive a letter directly from ATO stating that THEY know that the client had over 4,000 eBay transactions in 2010 year and the value of those transactions exceeded $80,000. The offer is to come clean and adjust the 2010 (yes 2010) tax return. It would be nice if some ATO employee would take the time to look at the client's 2010 tax return and note in the business section that the information had been duly included and at item P9 we had answered Yes to the client conducting business via the internet. What a waste of time!

One further example is a client receiving a notice for his 2008 tax year claiming that the wonderful resources of AUSTRAC had identified that there was in excess of $50,000 which had been transferred from an overseas source. Surprise! Surprise! Our client's mother had passed away and our client received a share of her estate. The last time that I looked that was regarded as a non-taxable windfall gain.

It is becoming more apparent that the ATO relies upon the much vaunted but universally hated computer system to spit out 'crap' so we tax agents have to clean up the mess. I suggest that we bill the ATO say at the rate of $500 (plus GST) for each of these stuff up letters just as they want to charge up to $550 for Failure to Lodge penalties."

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