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In last week's edition of TAXVINE - 2010 TAXVINE No 29 (16 July 2010) - Member 210 asked if other Members were having experience of slow refund payments from the ATO. MEMBER 218 writes:

"In response to Member 210.

Not only am I having slow processing of 2010 tax forms (now explained on the basis that the ATO wants more set-up time at the expense of service standards) but there is still a delay in processing 2009 refunds, which I find completely unacceptable.

A return lodged 31 May 2010 is still outstanding. When I rang the ATO 25 days after lodgment, the service representative simply said, after taking 12 minutes to check her system, that, yes, the return had not been processed, she would escalate, and said they now have an additional 14 day service standard period. So, if they originally cite 14 day service, not completed within 28 days, they then give themselves another 14 days, with no explanation as to why this is necessary. That is not 'service' in my book!"

MEMBER 219 writes:

"On commenting to a person who used to work for the ATO on the problems that we all have had with the ATO, his comment was that the ATO were deliberately stuffing up the system so that they would not have to pay out refunds quickly (refer to my and other Members' comments on slow and non-receipt of refunds). [Member 217 previously wrote as Member 183 in 2010 TAXVINE No 25 (18 June 2010).]

He then commented that NOBODY, including the ATO, ever sets up a new computer system without running things in parallel to make sure that things are working correctly. So why was the ATO computer "not working" for 3 months, and why the slow payout of refunds?

Maybe Laurie Oaks should ask this question of a certain red-head?"

MEMBER 220 writes:

"Clearly the ATO processing is still in a shambles. I see now that there is a problem with returns where a HELP debt is involved.
As tax agents we have just survived six months of disgraceful performance by the ATO and unfortunately things obviously haven't improved yet. I was told by a person in a call centre that "at the moment we have been told to say that returns could take up to 30 days to be processed due to the backlog".

This is just not good enough, the standard is 14 days to process a return lodged by ELS. I wonder if returns lodged by etax have also been delayed or is it yet again just agents they are disadvantaging?

If such delays are expected then the ATO needs to come clean and tell us, and also give wide publicity and tell our clients of the problems, as they think it us who are delaying processing.

And, by the way, why is it that the ATO currently can't issue 2010 credit assessments within the 14 day standard but is magically able to issue debit assessments in 10 days?"

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