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MEMBER 131 writes: 

"We constantly get phone calls from the ATO and debt collectors in relation to outstanding amounts.

When we advise that we do not collect debts the caller then tells us the conversation is being recorded in a threating manner attempting to gain our co-operation. This relates to calls from the ATO, not the debt collectors.

Telecommunications (Interception and Access) Act 1979 states that a caller can only monitor or record a call in the normal course of business if, and only if, the person being called is told at the beginning of the conversation. We then also have the right not to accept a call which is monitored. 

The callers then without providing any proof of identity ask us to break the privacy laws and provide information in relation to the client contact details. Some agents must provide this information as the ATO have been doing this for years.

The ATO has a range of methods they can use to collect debt. Some in the ATO believe that it is the Tax Agent's job to manage a client’s debt; another free service provided to the ATO. Regardless, they should review their systems to ensure that in pursuing debt they are not breaking the law or encouraging others to break the law."