30 Apr 10 More on the aftermath of the ATO change programMEMBER 115 writes:
"Is it possible that the ATO's computers systems debacle has kept the ATO away from their Audit Activities? If so, this may be a positive of the "computer systems upgrade".
MEMBER 116 writes:
"I am so reassured to hear what the Commissioner is reported to have told a Parliamentary Committee - that the changeover has gone well and the system works well and that we as agents should have no problem with the delays because we were warned. Apparently we are the envy of other countries! I know now that politicians don't play with the truth - they just pass on the information that is provided by the public service. Who is running the department? - obviously not the Commissioner.
It is difficult to imagine that the client who is facing legal action for not paying $0.00 by the due date, the clients facing penalties for not lodging BASs on time when they were (we have the receipts to prove it), the client who purchased a commercial property and is waiting for the GST refund so he can comply with his loan conditions, the clients whose returns were lodged in December but still can't be found by the ATO let alone processed, are going to be convinced by what the Commissioner has had to say.
The guy I feel happy for is Michael Carmody - he was named as the Commissioner on the ABC2 Breakfast program when they were referring to the debacle - it looks like a clear case of defamation to me! He should sue and pick up a tax free windfall."
"I have just listened to the Commissioner, Michael D'Ascenzo, and Second Commissioner, David Butler, answering questions from the Joint Parliamentary Committee re the mess the ATO is in. Get a copy of the item on ABC Radio National midday program of today (Thurs 22 April 2010) and have a listen. [TAXVINE will provide a link to the Hansard report when it becomes available.]
My blood pressure has gone through the roof."
MEMBER 118 writes:
"I would like to compliment the Commissioner of Taxation's wonderful performance with the Parliamentary committee.
Considering his legal background I think his comment that "the change program was working very well" provided to a Senate Committee shows that this is really his belief.
If this is his belief it shows how he is reading all of the incorrect information coming from ATO spin merchants and believing it to be true.
It is very sad and disappointing, although to some extent expected, that the head of the ATO has no idea what is happening in the real world.
It also shows how hard the Taxation Institute and other professional bodies have to work to make sure that these people (the Commissioner) do not become a slave to views of those trying to protect their jobs.
Oh! And by the way Mr Butler the ATO have processed millions of tax returns for years. Providing us with this type of spin is not conciliatory but is the best way of alienating the profession."
MEMBER 119 writes:
"Just wondering - how is a new system that produces 4 times as much paper for a single assessment compared to the old one (duplicated when we have to copy them for our files!!) more efficient or helping the environment?
What silly minded bureaucrat actually thought that this change would be better? Maybe someone from Mr Rudd's ETS department wanting to justify their existence by creating more emissions!
Trouble is folks, as more and more 'old' people leave the workforce and the overly under-educated younger ones take over (that is, in their education they were 'given' too many avenues for 'opportunities' - as they say - 'Jack of all trades, master of none'), so goes the common sense as well. Or maybe it is as simple that the change was proposed, and the change was rushed as is everything government related these days. No consultation with real people in the real world, and no testing or sampling! Will someone please slow the merry-go- round down!"
MEMBER 120 writes:
"Members have expressed concern about clients not believing the ATO’s monumental stuff up with its computer change. Well, thanks to all of the contributors to TAXVINE, I simply on forward TAXVINE to any client who asks where their refund is and direct them to Senior Tax Counsel's report and Member Feedback. The usual response is "Thanks. What a stuff up". Enough said!!!"
MEMBER 121 writes:
"Further to Member 105 and the cheques dated 29 March 2010. On 21 April I received a SOA with a refund cheque attached dated 01 April 2010. The NOA showed a date of issue of 06 April 2010. The SOA date of issue shows 01 April 2010 but the statement period shows as 22 January 2010 to 15 April 2010. As the return was lodged on 9 March 2010, it would appear that the ATO will claim that the refund issued within 30 days and therefore no interest will be payable. Of course I also do not understand how a statement can be issued on 1 April 2010 showing all transactions processed on an account up to 15 April 2010.
Also I lodged two returns (2008 and 2009) for a client on 1 March 2010 which have disappeared into the blackhole. Even though these were lodged after the new beaut system was up and running according to the ATO when I rang to check on the returns I was told that yes they could find them on ELS but they were not on the new system.
On another matter, over the Christmas break I upgraded my computer. As a sole practitioner with only a receptionist employed, I of course only need one computer. The new computer has Windows 7 as the operating system. Before lodging returns I rang FKC 35 (technical assistance) to ask if ELS would work in a 64 bit environment. The answer - try it and see if it does. Of course it did not. A visit to the Cisco website advised me that they have a 64 bit VPN client available. I later rang technical assistance a second time and asked when the issue may be resolved. The first response was that there was no 64 bit VPN client system available. After I told the woman that there was she said she would check with her manager. She then came back and said that the ELS system was not compatible and that no one could tell me when the ATO would look at resolving this issue. So for the time being I am stuck with using my old computer for lodgment which is not at all convenient.
At least with TAXVINE I am able to have a say about these things with others who understand the frustrations."
MEMBER 122 writes:
"The ATO has made a big production of advising that interest would be paid on refunds that took over 30 days to process.
Three results have occurred
1. Return lodged 27 January 2010, refund cheque arrived 20 April 2010. No interest was paid, but GIC was charged. As the ATO officer reminded me - The client did not actually have to pay the GIC as it was remitted.
2. Client paid 2007/08 Income Tax debt of $14,000 more than two weeks early. The Early Interest Credit was cancelled & replaced by 55c being interest due as refund took over 30 days to process.
3. Then there are the tax returns are actually correct if we ignore the GIC charged & remitted where there was a refund assessment.
The ATO wins. It is not worth phoning about each instance of insanity."
MEMBER 123 (who in an earlier guise wrote as Member 68) writes:
"Dear Member 114 - You're very welcome!! [Member 114 said last week: "Thanks for all the Member Feedback, especially the one about the oom-paa band sailing on the Rhine River (Member 68 from 1 April 2010).]
I now wait with bated breath re the results of the IGOT investigation into the ATO's so-called "change" system. I can almost smell the turpentine scent of the whitewash paint coming to cover over this entire sorry saga!! There will be no publication of the culprits who created this debacle nor will there be any lessons gleaned by the ATO from what they have done. It will be business as usual giving the tax agents and thus the taxpayer the dirty end of the stick when it comes to tax administration by the ATO. No matter how many "investigations" or "reviews" are done by august bodies - the results will be the same with the report gathering dust along with the Henry Tax Report in some very important person's bottom drawer!!
Well that's said - I'm off for a holiday visit to the mythical planet of Pandora where I might even find some my clients' missing income tax assessments and the doubtlessly hard working Tax Commissioner telling the locals that the Change System is working well!"