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15 Oct 10 Much more on the Tax Agent Portal - give agents a fair go!

MEMBER 306 writes:

"Is it not strange that the Portal is slow if it's working, but e-tax never has any problems - how about the ATO take some of the band width of e-tax and give us hard working tax agents a fair go."

MEMBER 307 writes:

"Thank you for printing some of the Member comments about the Tax Agent Portal. I am a sole practitioner, trying to do my best. I have several delinquent clients who are trying to catch up.

I've found the ATO staff to be absolutely hopeless lately when it comes to tax law advice (They often read from the tax pack!) and the staff there often have absolutely no idea. The Portal is as good as useless but they still manage to refrain from remitting late lodgment penalties and interest. They are also extremely keen to instigate legal proceedings when my job as the tax agent is hampered by the inability of the ATO to get back to me.

I get sent letters with a contact person and when I try to contact that person, they are invariably never there or take weeks to get back to me. There are tax refunds that are delayed unnecessarily

I used to have great faith in the ATO and Tax Agents working together for the good of the government. But I have to say it's now us against them and that's a real pity.

I have clients that are genuinely in need of assistance and the ATO could not care one bit. Why for all these years the ATO have been happy to get along with business and in lots of cases assist in the short term and now, all of a sudden, it's attack on all fronts.

I get the impression they do not want Tax Agents, especially ones for micro-business to small business, to be around anymore.

It would be great if you had some persuasive power to get this government department back to giving Tax Agents a fair go."

MEMBER 308 writes:

"Yes we are having exactly the same issues with the Portal as others members reported this week re getting cut off after signing in, etc.

After 30 years of public practice I must say the last two years have been the most frustrating. The stimulus package debacle cost so much time and money (even though we were reimbursed $9,600 by the ATO for the inconvenience). This year's haphazard approach to issuing assessments (not to mention the disastrous new looking assessment notices) has resulted in every second phone call being "where's my refund". As if we don't have better things to do.

I think it's time for more ATO compensation."

MEMBER 309 writes:

"Just to let you know that I can never log onto the portal with any degree of success at 2pm. At 10pm, I have never experienced a problem!"

MEMBER 310 writes:

"It was interesting to read the member comments in 2010 TAXVINE No 41 in relation to the Tax Agent Portal (TAP).

The TAP has been developed by the ATO into a very useful (dare I say now indispensible) tool for tax practitioners. Therefore, when the TAP cannot be accessed, works slowly, hangs in the middle of access etc, etc (all problems experienced over recent weeks and months - not days as the ATO spin department would have us believe), we can all be cheered by the email that has just arrived from the ATO (ATOB-1067 - 8.10.10), to advise agents that:

  1. "You may be experiencing difficulties..."
  2. "As the problem is intermittent..."
  3. "If you are experiencing difficulties, you also may want to try logging on at a later time"
No issue with 1 and 2 above - FACT

Re 3 above, they obviously don't understand, or don't care (I suspect both), about practice workflow issues - yes sure, we will just put that assignment aside until the TAP happens to be working again.

The TAP (in my humble opinion) is one of the most useful things (mind you, the list is not long) the ATO has done for tax agents. Before the "Change Program" system upgrade in January 2010, the TAP worked well. However, since that time, the wheels seem to have fallen off a lot of the ATO systems, including the TAP.

We will all be relaxed and comfortable having read the advice from the ATO in ATOB-1067 that "we are investigating these issues and apologise for any inconvenience caused”! - was that an echo I heard?"

MEMBER 311 writes:

"At this peak time of the year it is very frustrating & disruptive to work scheduling when a system that we rely on so heavily cannot be relied on to be accessible for hours on end  It makes no difference whether we use AusKey or the old system , the delays still occur. The Portal access is the best initiative that has come out of the ATO. It is to be hoped that it does not become a casualty of its own success."

MEMBER 312 writes:

"I can only agree with all of Members 302, 303, 304 & 305. The Portal situation is abysmal to say the least. I, too, have had unacceptable delays and access problems, and not just in the 'last day or so' as suggested by the ATO. And the problem is definitely not intermittent. My experiences with this problem have been ongoing for several weeks. All that is achieved for me, the epitome of a sole practitioner, is a mountain of non-recoverable time spent trying to get a resolution to Assessment errors, missing and late processing, the list goes on and on."

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