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MEMBER 155 writes:

"I would like to add my frustration regarding another two areas.

First, technical difficulties.

I could not access a client's Activity Statement on the portal as 'System unavailable'. On phoning the Technical area, I was advised that the service period for this area is 28 days. Six weeks later the message 'System unavailable' is still displayed. The ATO again promised to have someone to call me back. Now have the same message for a further client.

This is scary for the tax profession which is forced to rely on the Portal system but which has a mandatory 28 day service period.

Secondly, HECS/HELP Benefit.

I phoned the call centre about a HECS/HELP Benefit for a client whose form had been submitted over 28 days previously and was advised that they are swamped and it is now a two month delay.

I phoned again regarding the effect of this delay on 2014 Assessments and how the HECS/HELP Benefit would be paid. Firstly, the ATO advises that they will now not give any time frame for processing HECS/HELP Benefits as the back log is too great.  Apparently, the only avenue to determine when the HECS/HELP Benefit would be paid is by telephone, no Portal or written correspondence, just regular phone calls. How much does the ATO think my fees are for a first year teacher?

Secondly, the ATO is adamant that the HECS/HELP Benefit will only be used to reduce compulsory HECS/HELP repayment. As the Assessment notice will issue shortly with my client paying the compulsory HECS/HELP amount, the ATO refused to advise where this $1716.85 will disappear to.  In earlier years, this benefit was re-imbursed to the client where the compulsory HECS/HELP has already been paid. Where is this benefit now allocated? 

These are two more areas that can be added to the list of ATO sections not meeting service standards."