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01 Apr 10 More on life after (?) the ATO shutdown

MEMBER 66 writes:

"Dear Angie & the Taxation Institute.

Thank you for all your efforts in the past & the problems still have not disappeared. However, sometimes things are just so disastrous that it is better to back off. My clients & I have decided to leave the ATO in peace for a couple of weeks as they are clearly not coping & the ATO has already got the message that we are not happy."

MEMBER 67 writes:

"What a joke the new ATO assessment system is. We have not had any tax assessments since mid-March despite getting 4 refunds deposited into our trust account. When we rang the ATO to ask where the assessments were we were told that all assessments processed by them on 10 March 2010 showed a nil balance and since then they have been working on the problem. Obviously not very well as they seem to have ground to a halt.

We rang again today to ask what is happening and were told that the ATO do not know when assessments will start to be reissued. The ATO person we spoke to said they are being told something different virtually every hour. If they could not get the system to work properly why did the ATO go "live" with it in the first place? We have clients waiting for their refunds going back to Dec 2009. They are ringing/emailing us virtually every day asking what the delay is. Is the ATO going to refund agents for dealing with all these enquiries? We have better things to do than make excuses for their stuff ups!

As agents we should make some kind of a stand and bombard the ATO with paper tax return lodgments. This will make them grind to a halt! Still we would not do this as we want to provide a quality service to clients (something the ATO know nothing about). Can the Taxation Institute lobby the ATO on our behalf to get this mess sorted out? A very frustrated tax agent!"

MEMBER 68 writes:

"We are still waiting on numerous early January 2010 lodged individual assessments which still don't appear to have any progress indicated on processing them regardless of putting escalation orders on them. This is in contrast to the ATO e-mail releases trumpeting how the backlog has been caught up and issued. Could someone please tell the ATO Media Team to either stop getting their material from the Prime Minister's spin team or if they persist on the "We are marching on the Rhine" theme to a background oom-paa oom-paa rhythm that their colleagues, the tax agents, are still trapped back on the beach under heavy client fire and would appreciate their assistance at the surf break!!! Come on ATO - this could be your finest hour!!!"

MEMBER 69 writes:

"I wonder if Second Commissioner David Butler actually believes the fairy tales in his latest updates of 15 and 29 March 2010.Has he heard the saying that actions speak louder than words? Perhaps he would be better employed sorting ATO problems rather than writing fairy tales.

On another issue, I received a number of assessments on 30 March, with issue dates of 10 or 12 March. In true ATO style the due date for payment has not been adjusted to compensate for the fact that the assessments were actually "stockpiled" by the ATO for around 17 or 19 days.

The icing on the cake, there is an error on one of the assessments. So much for David Butler's update of 15 March: "Last week we experienced some minor problems which have delayed us issuing some of those remaining stockpiled refunds and assessments whilst we ensure the integrity of our data". INTEGRITY?"

MEMBER 70 writes:

"On 29 March 2010, David Butler, in answer to the question whether interest would be paid on overdue refunds, said the following:

'Yes, it's a normal part of our operations no matter what the situation. If we take more than 30 days after your income tax return is lodged to issue a notice of assessment and that assessment entitles you to a refund of tax, we will pay interest.

Interest is paid for the period beginning from the 30th day after the day on which we received the return and ends on the day the notice of assessment is issued.'

I am starting to receive refund cheques - today in the mail one family received their assessments for returns lodged 23.2.10 - all assessments have in the Date of Issue field: 10 March 2010 - all of them were received this afternoon 31.3.10. The local post box closes at 3.00pm. If I can't get them in the box by then, the clients won't be "issued" with their refund cheques (totalling $25,961) until after Easter = possibly Tuesday 6 April 2010.

Why am I receiving assessment today DATED 10 March?"

MEMBER 71 writes:

"I have been trying to accept that the ATO is just incompetent and their propaganda will not matter in the long run, but the latest stunt of sending out assessments with an issue date of 10 March 2010 received by us on 30 March 2010 just shows how chaotic they have become. There is no apology or press release. Needless to say, it reinforces my client's view that I have been part of the problem

Keep up the good work in publishing the issues and keeping a lot of very frustrated accountants from just giving up in disgust."


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