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MEMBER 123 writes:

"I have sold my practice but there are still loose ends to sort out. Apart from collecting debts and looking after the interest of the new owner (and my own of course), I still have some outstanding matters with the ATO that I thought were done and dusted.

I must commend the work of the outsourced debt collectors though - the alternative is horrific!!! I wrote a little time back about the ATO sending a threatening letter to a client for a piddling little debt after his account had been in credit until 8 days earlier, this was followed with a garnishee notice dated the following day. My complaint was met with the response that the system had made a mistake (yeah right!! - my computer can't do anything it isn't told to do and that cost a lot less than the ATO monster) and that they would try to fix matters. I had a phone call the following day to let me know that the garnishee had been withdrawn, that was followed by a letter telling me much the same thing so all is fine and dandy.

Not so – I had a call from the client I thought I had rescued from the stress of dealing with the ATO last week - not only was the money garnisheed from his account, it was garnisheed about a week after the debt was paid and now about six weeks after the event, he is still without the money and no amount of talking to either his bank or the ATO has done anything towards retrieving the funds.

But in some sort of perverse way, the political masters of the ATO have ensured that we won't have a tax debt problem for a while because he earns his money trucking cattle and that is a dying industry – but he will now have to deal with commercial debt collectors instead!"

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