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23 May 13 More on the plight of tax agents

MEMBER 103 writes:
"If we don't drink, it's time to take it up!!
I have a client who was not an Australian Citizen for tax and thus exempt from the Medicare levy as they can't access the Australian 'Free Health'.
Previous Accountant did 2011 Return. I found letter to my client saying exemption application was included with 2011 return, needed signing and sending to 'Department of Human Services', Medicare. Client didn't recall what happened to it.
The ATO reassessed his 2011 return, including $2,600 in Medicare levy. I sent the ATO a letter from the Department of Immigration and Citizenship stating that the client was granted citizenship from June 2012. A logical person would immediately determine that he was therefore not a 'citizen' prior to this date. Not ATO, need Certificate for 2011.
Filled in forms to Medicare, client copied passport and had copies certified. Medicare again contacted and said they needed copies of previous passport, so we copied, had certified and sent off.
Five months after all this started, I then receive a letter from the 'Department of HUMAN Services' stating, and I quote, 'your application for Medicare Levy Exemption Certificate was unsuccessful BECAUSE, you have previously been approved as Medicare Levy Exempt for the 2011 year'. A phone call and they sent me a copy Certificate to give to the ATO. Maybe I should have done that first???
Government Departments need to pool their resources and send Accountants a bottle of Dimple a week to help us to tolerate their shortcomings and to assist us to understand their lack of common sense and utterly ridiculous scenarios they create to keep us busy with non-chargeable duties and supply them with a mountain of information that they don't need and usually don't read."

MEMBER 104 writes:
"Once more the ATO shows its lack of understanding towards the plight of the tax agent. I am trying to reconcile a client's accounting program back to the ATO. These accounts are 4 years in arrears. As my client has large unpaid debts his accounts have been moved into the Legal Action account. What had previously been in date order is now all over the place, mish mash, and no order. 2004 2009 2004 2007 2006 2004 etc. I have seen this before and it is a nightmare to try to reconcile payments, interest charges, etc.
Why can't the ATO transfer from the ICA to the Legal Action Account without stuffing it all up? I know they can. But they do not. I wonder how the ATO is able to reconcile this account and others like it? If I had a staff member that had taken 4 or 6 years of work and mixed them all up deliberately he or she would not be working for me anymore. Is this just plain incompetence on their part?"

MEMBER 105 writes:
"I was directed to this document from the ATO entitled 'Data matching and 'return not necessary' status for 2012 tax returns'. It states: 'We match [data matching] information to our records to identify individual taxpayers who may not need to lodge a tax return for the previous year, and allocate a "return not necessary" status for that taxpayer.'
Why does the ATO waste its time running special data matching with every piece of info they receive from Centrelink, DVA and 'external sources'? For years, the ATO has been sent Client Update (CU) forms by Agents telling them that future returns are not necessary. However, ATO staff have admitted to me in the past that they are rarely acted upon because the CU forms are printed out and then someone has to manually input the information.
I think that was code for: 'the CU forms leave my computer, get transmitted to the ATO's computer and at their end they go straight into a Virtual Shredder never to be seen again'.
I have two examples - Validation Reports in August 2012 and yet they're still sitting on my 14 May 2013 Not Lodged Report."

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