'I have just received the latest weekly newsletter from the ATO.
In that letter was a link to 'Prepare and lodge'. This document set out the ATO’s proposed courses of action if you fail to meet the 85% rule. While this document is welcomed and does seem to reflect the ATO having a think about this requirement, it still does not specifically address the fact that all agents are in the hands of their clients. Agents are being made responsible for their clients bringing their work in to the Agents office in a timely manner. This has never sat comfortably with me.
I would like the ATO to provide us with guidance as to what to do where we have contacted the client, advised them of their lodgment date and they fail to co-operate. I realise the simple response would be to delete the client from the program but I have doubts as to whether this is the correct approach, both at law and in a practical sense.
Finally, it is interesting to note an agent’s compliance history will be taken into account. The lodgment of returns on time is a given. The capacity to pay the debt on time is not so easy. How many agents are struggling because their clients are struggling financially?"