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The ATO responds to an issue raised by MEMBER 59 in 2014 TaxVine No 17 (23 May 2014) about debt collection practices.

“All calls initiated to Tax Agents, whether from the ATO or a collection agency are generally made within normal business hours (9am - 5pm in the time zone of the Tax Agent’s state) unless otherwise authorised by the Tax Agent.

Calls made by both the ATO and external collection agencies to Taxpayer’s can be made outside normal business hours in certain circumstances.

 Unfortunately in this instance, it appears that the contact information available to the collection agency at that time has not identified the phone number as belonging to a Tax Agent.

 When a Tax Agent is no longer representing a Taxpayer, they can add or delete contact details via the Tax Agent Portal to ensure they are not contacted unnecessarily.

The collection agencies and their staff are subject to stringent security, privacy, service and quality requirements. These requirements, which are the same as those that apply to the ATO’s internal collection operations, are rigorously enforced. We work closely with the agencies we engage to ensure they provide a professional service and their contact with Tax Agents and Taxpayers is of the highest quality, and thank you for your feedback on this issue.

We apologise for any inconvenience this may have caused.”

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