03 Oct 14
More on the use of the Code by the ATO
MEMBER 149 writes, in relation to Member 146's feedback in last week's TAXVINE - see 2014 TAXVINE No 35 (26 September 2014) - about an email from the ATO referring to the Code of Professional Conduct:
"It’s ironic that that the Australian Taxation Office is now the bastion of professional standards in quoting the Code of Professional Conduct in relation to the provision of information to the Australian Taxation Office. The (so-called) independent Tax Practitioners Board is now being used as a tool to threaten both in writing and verbally to badger Tax Agents and their staff. This is even the case when they are bullying a secretary in an attempt to get them to break the law by providing personal details without providing any proof of identity. (Also refer to Member 131 in 2014 TAXVINE No 33 (12 September 2014)).
The Australian Taxation Office has the biggest data base of information in relation to individual details in the country and contacting the Tax Agent's secretary to obtain contact information shows a sloppy and lazy attitude to its work.
I guess this attitude is reflected in the ATO forcing Agents to use the Portal to request remission of penalties and then not responding (very professional). Guess what! I get my clients to contact the ATO directly by phone to plead their case. They certainly seem to be more successful. Just another example of how the ATO has devalued the Tax Agent.
Yes, there was a time when the ATO valued its relationship with Tax Agents. There was a time when a Tax Agent could express his/her views without fear of retribution and did not have to rely on an anonymous feedback site. That time has passed."