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MEMBER 139 writes:

"I actually received an assessment notice (2009 year) today, Thursday 6 May 2010. It is dated 23 February 2010 which is only 10 WEEKS AGO. As the Commissioner and Second Commissioner have said - 'The System is working well'.

I have just tried to lodge a complaint through the Relationship Management section about getting notices of assessment today 6 May 2010 that are dated 23 February 2010 - they will not allow me to make a complaint - only "send intelligence up the line" - because if I make a complaint they will just call back and tell me "what everyone knows already, that there are problems in the system" - ISN'T THAT THE WHOLE POINT - THE COMMISSIONER AND SECOND COMMISSIONER ARE BEING TOLD THAT THE SYSTEM IS WORKING WELL - THEY ARE NOT BEING TOLD WHAT IS REALLY HAPPENING AND WHAT 'EVERYONE KNOWS'."

MEMBER 140 writes:

"Now I am really confused. I have received a Notice of Assessment for a client with a cheque attached (the way it used to be). I thought that the cheques were now coming attached to the Statement of Account. Could someone at the ATO flip a coin, make a choice and stick to it!"

MEMBER 141 sings:

To be sung to the music of John Lennon's "Imagine"

Imagine there's no Change System
It's easy if you try
No angry client below us
Above us only sky
Imagine all the tax agents
Working and getting paidddd .....

Imagine there's no delays
It isn't hard to do
Nothing to leave or get upset for
And no Ken Henry too
Imagine all the tax agents
Living, sleeping in their beds...

You may say I'm a dreamer
But I'm not the only agent
I hope the Commissioner will join us
And the system will be as one

Imagine no stuff-ups
I wonder if you can
No need for Valium or Panadol
A brotherhood against ATO spam
Imagine all the public
Getting assessments today....

You may say I'm a whinger
But I'm not the only one
I hope someday Kevin will hear us
And the system will be as one.

MEMBER 142 writes:

"It seems with the wonderful new 'Change Program' that the 'Process Date' and 'Effective Date' on the tax agent Portal are now meaningless. I think the dates could once be taken as an indication when things might happen, but that's no longer the position.

We should also be wary of any statistics the ATO issues, clearly they are now making much more use of spin merchants. For example, I recently received a survey that asked me to comment on the ATO performance during phone calls, if any, made 12 months ago. How effective a survey that would be is beyond me, who can remember a phone call made last month let alone last year. It of course went in the bin. Also, the number of days the ATO says they take to process income tax returns is a bit rubbery. I have a Validation report confirming the ATO received a return on a particular date but their records show it wasn't received until the day after. This appears to happen with all returns and of course gives them one extra day. At the other end of the process their records show a return was 'processed' on a particular date but it turns out that is the date it was sent to the printer. The printing process is currently taking up to 6 or 8 days. So if the ATO brag that they process a return in 14 days, what they mean in practice is actually more like 20 days.

If the delays currently being experienced with processing returns and if the assessments aren't redesigned before the fast approaching busy tax season we are all in for a torrid time. The ATO would be better served taking tax agents into their confidence and tell us what the true position is instead of trying to pull the wool over our eyes."

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