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05 Mar 10 More on the new assessment notice

After comments by Members 17, 18 and 19 in last week's TAXVINE (see 2010 TAXVINE No 7 (26 February 2010))  TAXVINE has been inundated with complaints about the new assessment notice:

MEMBER 20 writes:

"Who has been credited with this fantastic piece of garbage? Not only are they now at least 4 pages long but there is less  information on them than on the old one page notice. How much more work do we Tax agents have to do now to verify the  ATO has done their job correctly?

Is the ATO trying to speed up the retirement of Tax agents with the garbage they keep dealing out as part of the change  process? It’s no wonder the young up and coming Accountants don’t want to know about being Tax Agents, the ATO is  hell bent on making our lives miserable.

I for one am considering a change of vocation. Life is too short to put up with the stress these people seem to think is  justified. It’s about time the ATO and the so called Commissioners of Taxation actually got off their rears and took a good  hard look at the garbage they generate which only increases the Tax agents’ work load because they cannot recognise their  own people have no idea of the real world, and how simple is always best.

As for TAXVINE, keep up the good work and keep the pressure on the ATO. OK, I’ve had my rant for the month."


MEMBER 21 writes:

"I would like to add my voice to the chorus of discontent with the new ATO assessment books. I call them books because of the number of pages. On 26 February 2010, I had received only two notices. Then on 1 March 2010 the trickle began.  The amount of paper used is ridiculous and we are now having to explain more about the notices than ever before.

Today 2 March 2010 we have received some company Statements of Account where the Opening Balance is ZERO,  Transactions Processed is ZERO and Closing Balance is ZERO - what is the point of these? We have already advised the  client it is a self assessment and the net outcome is zero. Under our "ELS term of engagement" with ATO are we required to  send these to the client?

The ATO has made our workload even more time consuming with more paperwork which has no benefit to the ATO, the  Tax Agent or the Client."


MEMBER 22 writes:

"These notices are just ridiculous. Pages with no names, information the taxpayer does not want and will not understand  anyway. More admin for us. Why did Peter Garrett worry about the house insulation when we are now cutting down more  trees for paper for assessments that no taxpayer wants? Please let us go back to the old assessment notices."


MEMBER 23 writes:

"Now I have seen it all!!! The new Notices of Assessment really are a work of art.

Here is the irony. We have a government which could not wait to be sworn in so they could sign meaningless environmental  accords. What do they do – change the basic, individual notice of assessment from a one page document (double sided) to  a four page document – again double sided. So, we’re not worried about climate change, trees, etc anymore??

The genius that came up with this, please name him and give him an award for further stimulating the economy. I mean – all  of a sudden the ATO has managed to increase productivity by 400%!! Business of the year!!!"


MEMBER 24 writes:

"I read with amusement the previous gripes about the new notice of assessment, until I finally started to receive some this  week.

Day 1, 6 notices received. Day 2 another 6, plus an extra 2 pages for 3 of the previous day’s notices, forcing me to not only  copy 4 pages instead of 1, but post them out in 2 separate envelopes. I also notice that those received 2/3/10 were issued  24/2/10 with a pay by date of 22/3/10. Clients will not be impressed by this lack of notice, and will possibly think that I  have been very tardy forwarding the assessment notice."


MEMBER 25 writes:

"Perhaps with the new you-beaut Tax Agents Board that has members who have practical real world experience, we could  get them to instruct the ATO on all the parts of the new assessments that we don’t like. Pretty much everyone agrees that  the new method is pretty dumb. Certainly, the old method of one page, with a bill and a date to pay, was always going to  get a better response than the new one of hiding all the data somewhere inside 2-4-6 pages.

And, my OCR software cannot read the smaller TFNs. So that was another great idea by the ATO. Why would you make  the TFN or ABN smaller? Is it not important?

Obviously the ATO wants us to de-computerise and go back to manual paper filing, as that is so much quicker!"


MEMBER 26 writes in a similar vein:

"Of late we have all been encouraged to adopt a more paperless office. One measure that we have implemented is to scan  the assessment notices and keep an electronic copy rather than a paper copy. To simplify the process of doing this several  accounting software companies have designed automatic filing systems using OCR (optical character recognition) which  identifies the TFN on the document and automatically saves it into the corresponding client folder. The ATO in its infinite  wisdom has decided to remodel their assessment notices, including reducing the font size of the TFN. This has resulted in an  approximately 40% failure rate in OCR automatic filing and therefore we are now having to go back and manually save  scanned documents which is taking twice as long.

What could possibly be the reason for shrinking one of the most important numbers on ATO correspondence?"


MEMBER 27 writes:

"Members 17, 18 and 19, I'm with you! PLUS aren't we supposed to be environmentally friendly?"

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