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MEMBER 158 writes:

"I contacted the Tax Agents Services FKC 1252 on 23 September 2014 regarding the progress of an assessment. The tax return was lodged on 18 August 2014. It was trust estate return so was a more difficult assessment.

I was told that I needed to send a message through the Tax Agent Portal as the ATO no longer can follow up this type of issue by phone. I was unable to find a topic in the message section on the Portal showing 'Progress of assessment' so I immediately sent a message under the 'Statement requests/account details' section on 23 September 2014. I had no response by 7 October 2014 so rang the ATO again and gave the receipt number of the message. I was told that the assessment would issue by 21 October 2014.

I am very disappointed in this service. I have wasted over half an hour in following up the assessment with no response from the 'quick' Portal message service. Can the ATO please not promote a new service if it is not supported by prompt action?"

TAX COUNSEL THILINI WICKRAMASURIYA COMMENTS: We have raised the slowness of Portal messaging and the interaction with recent changes to ATO telephone services at the ATO’s Lodgment Working Group meeting on 8 October 2014. A detailed update on that meeting will be included in next week’s edition of TaxVine.