13 Jun 1414 More on ATO debt collection, and what happens when a client leaves
MEMBER 70 writes:
“I totally agree with Member 66’s comments – see 2014 TaxVine No 19 (6 June 2014) – about the inability to access former clients’ details on the Portal once the client has gone to another tax agent or prepared his own return, God forbid!
It appears that all Tax Agents are not the same and this must cause the ATO much angst. When we pick up a new client we add all the accounts to our list, ie not only income tax but IASs as well. It’s very interesting to see the history pop up and see annual GST returns from prior years show as outstanding, and the client’s response is always ‘I thought my previous accountant had taken care of that’.
It’s frustrating when we lose a client to another Tax Agent only to have that Tax Agent add themselves just to the tax matter. This means we keep receiving IASs, the ICA etc. As Member 66 so eloquently puts it: ‘... when a client leaves the Tax Agent’s practice in favour of another Agent, rarely, if ever, do they say goodbye’. By the time we realise they are no longer our client only then do we start the Return to Sender process back to the ATO.
I leave you with one last thought I think will become a major issue in the next few years – Tax File Number security and privacy. Once the client has gone it has been suggested to me under privacy laws I am to destroy all records of the client’s TFN.
How do I do this if I don’t know he’s left me? Interesting times.”