MEMBER 215 writes:
I eventually got through and lodged an official complaint (which took about 50 minutes of time) with the ATO about the time delays and ATO inaction for my client under 'the 12 week review'. Tax return was lodged in mid July 2011 and as of 18 November 2011 no case officer had been appointed and was advised that it would more likely be after Christmas before it was reviewed.
It appears that the compliant started the ball rolling because within 5 days a case offer was appointed to the client's review. He actually rang me to advise of his appointment and that he had the file in front of him with all the requested receipts and documentation (including WRE for $200!) that we had sent in August. The case officer rang back the next day to advise that he was going to clear the return for assessment 'in this case' with no adjustments but he did have concerns about the $200 of unsubstantiated WREs claimed!! The case officer also mentioned that in most cases there is some adjustment to the returns processed and they had been overrun with the sheer number of returns selected for review. As per Member 210 I would be interested to find out what percentage of returns are amended but importantly what are the dollars involved, as I am sure a $10 amendment will still provide great statistics that over 70% of the returns required amendment
In this case, the return itself was pretty straight forward, PAYG Payment Summary, rental losses, dividends and $200 of WRE. The payment summary was not (and is still not) on the Pre-Filling Report which indicates to me that the ATO system is not picking up all payment summaries lodged by employers.
My suggestion is lodge an official compliant with the ATO as this appears to have got the case moving along."
MEMBER 216 writes:
"Further to the comments from Members 207 and 210, I also would very much like to see the ATO statistics supporting their claims. We have had several refunds held this year and all have been released with no adjustments. We are yet to see the ATO correct anything. When we call about the length of time it is taking for a refund and offering to provide any information needed, the call is always 'escalated' then the refund issued within a few weeks with no further correspondence.
I can only trust the ATO is working in everyone's best interests, however, I would like to see the statistics and details of the amendments being made, including the dollar figure for deductions disallowed and omitted income (also to be split between tax agent prepared returns and self-prepared)."
THE TAX INSTITUTE'S TAX COUNSEL DEEPTI PATON RESPONDS: "We agree, and asked the ATO to provide such statistics at the last meeting of the ATO's Tax Practitioner Forum (on 4 November 2011). We have yet to receive detailed statistics from the ATO but will print them as soon as they become available."