MEMBER 196 writes, in response to the item from the ATO in last week's TAXVINE - see 2013 TAXVINE No 33:
"I am sorry. Given the response from the ATO it would appear to be very dangerous to provide any type of estimate in relation the spouse income.
We do not have a score system which allows us to determine the taxpayer's compliance history and in some cases we do not even know the history.
We should be given the option to advise we do not have this information and the ATO will need to assess the return accordingly. There should never be a penalty for an estimate when the ATO advises us to provide one.
This is not Tax Administration???"
MEMBER 197 writes:
"One severe problem in getting an accurate spouse income for inclusion in a client tax return involves the situation where the client husband needs his wife’s income which includes a Disability Support Pension. When the wife seeks that information from Centrelink, many times I have heard the story that Centrelink will not look up the figure as 'it is a tax exempt payment and it is not included in your tax return'. Fine for the wife, but it IS NEEDED in the husband's return. And the comment that the information is available to the tax agent is only valid if the recipient is the Tax Agent's client. The information is not available for a non-client.
Please, somebody educate the Centrelink people a lot better. That would help us all.
Have a good weekend everyone."