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26 Feb 10 More on the ATO shutdown

MEMBER 13 writes:

"I share the same experiences with Members 9 & 10 referred to in last week's TAXVINE (2010 TAXVINE No 6 (19 February 2010). When will the ATO become accountable for anything it does? A while ago we were told by someone at the ATO that client IT issues were not a valid excuse for lodging documents late nor of any interest to the  ATO. Obviously a different set of rules applies in this case. Maybe we should all bypass electronic lodgment and start sending in all lodgments in paper format. As long as they have pens and a calculator there shouldn't be any hold-up!"

MEMBER 14 writes:

"I have to add to the list of problems being caused by the ATO & its new processing system. I finally received refunds for two funds on 15 February 2010 but by 22 February 2010 no paper assessment notices had yet been received.

A phonecall to the call centre revealed that the refunds were processed out of the old system but details have to be transferred into the new system before the assessment notices can be issued. It was thought the assessments would be issued within the next month! What the...?

It seems to me the installation of the new system has been a complete mess. It seems to have been inadequately tested before implementation and the implementation seems to have been hopelessly under-resourced. The misinformation and lack of information coming out of the ATO and its call centre is unbelievable.

I wish I had the luxury of shutting my business down for a couple of months and then expecting it to be there when I reopened."

MEMBER 15 writes:

"Whilst it's great to see the ATO providing feedback in relation to Members' comments regarding the change program, I guess we all have to be happy that the ATO did not introduce it last year as planned.

The ATO at the top should be aware that at the coalface ATO staff are trying to be as helpful as possible but most are clearly admitting a lack of training and knowledge of the new systems.

I don't suppose we could say that the change program is having a "few teething difficulties" as this description was provided for the problems incurred when introducing GST. The change program has clearly not reached those disaster levels yet.

However, one tends to lose confidence in an administration which advises that BAS returns should be lodged prior to 11 Jan 2010. Do these people occupy the same planet?"

MEMBER 16 writes:

"The cash bonus including the tax incentive bonus cost $8.2b; the tax break cost $3.7b; both designed to insulate the economy from the dreaded GFC.

Now we have the 'reverse stimulus package' courtesy of the ATO; approx $14.5b of tax refunds ($84.2b in 2008-09 x 9/52) sitting in government coffers since mid December - not to mention the flow on effect to other agencies dependent on ATO reporting for their 'clients' e.g. Centrelink/Family Assist.

$725m to implement new software - and no parallel system to insulate the ATO from programming errors.

Hasn’t stopped those debt collection calls tho'..."

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