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23 Mar 12 More on the "12 week" review process

In 2012 TAXVINE No 7 (9 March 2012), Member 41 commented on the unsatisfactory outcome of the "12 week" review process for one of their clients, particularly the failure of the ATO officer concerned to provide an explanation for the adjustments made as a result of the review. Last week, in 2012 TAXVINE No 8 (16 March 2012), Member 56 gave feedback on their experience. Member 41, who this week becomes MEMBER 58, replies:

"Hi, I am Member 41 that wrote in and just in reply to today's Member 56 comment.

I did in fact try to contact the agent who handled the case. Twice. In both instances she rejected acceptance of my call. It was in the second case the answer given was that she was too busy (that was 58 minutes on the phone to get nowhere). The first call was done through the switchboard which didn't put my call through to her voicemail and they had to come back to me and the second through the internal general line whereby the agent who answered the call was able to reach her but that was her response.

But the fact that others are experiencing even this iota of the same problem says that the system adopted by the ATO is fundamentally flawed. I ask simply, where is the accountability? Every other area of the ATO MUST give an explanation of the decision making process so why not this area. And to say that you are too busy, are you joking? The amount of administrative time my practice has had to spend on this ludicrous stuff is insane. I was insulted at her statement that she was too busy. Perhaps she wouldn't be so busy if she had simply taken my call and explained the adjustment or (shock of horrors) actually given a basis for her decision making process in the first instance. Then perhaps I wouldn’t have had to waste my time following this up too."

THE TAX INSTITUTE'S TAX COUNSEL, STEPHANIE CAREDES, COMMENTS: "Member 58's matter (originally submitted as Member 41's comments in 2012 TAXVINE No 7) is currently being progressed by the ATO. The ATO has allocated more resources to process returns that have been held up as a result of the refund review process put in place by the ATO. Resolutions have already been achieved for Members who forwarded details of their matters through to The Tax Institute to request assistance from the ATO to progress their matters. Members still experiencing delays and difficulties in their communications with the ATO are encouraged to forward details of their matters through to TaxPolicy if they would like The Tax Institute's assistance with progressing outstanding matters."

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