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14 Jun 2019 MyGov ineptness by the ATO and Div 293

MEMBER 155 writes: 

Dear TaxVine, 

I would like to draw your attention to a phone call I received on Friday afternoon from an ATO Officer in Melbourne. 

The caller upon hearing my voice advised me that he was trying to call one of my clients and that he may have called the wrong number. 

After a bit of a discussion we established that he was indeed calling me about one of my clients and he advised me that he really wished to speak to the client and not myself who was the nominated tax agent. I eventually explained to him that he must speak to me and not my client as I was listed on the ATO records as being the tax agent and that he must call me and speak before making any attempt to call the client direct. 

We then ascertained that he was calling from an area called early intervention, another name for Debt Collection. It has turned out that an assessment for Div 293 was issued in December 2018 for an amount of $ 3750.00. There is indeed a debt showing on the tax portal for my client. Whilst the phone call was very slowly progressing, I logged onto the Tax Agent Portal and was able to see from looking at the client correspondence section copies of the assessment notices. I then asked the ATO officer where the documents had been sent to and was advised that he thought that they were sent to myself. I also then told the Officer that he was badly mistaken and that as they are showing in the client correspondence section and against the documents concerned it shows as being sent to myGov. There is no way at all that I received the said assessment notices. 

One must wonder how much time is being wasted by these ATO staff who blindly call up chasing debts when neither the tax agent or the client have ever received any assessment notice.

Now we all know what transpires here except for this ATO officer and his supervisor. They are not aware that the documents never actually get sent anywhere at all. They seem to think that we as tax agents have nothing at all to do except spend all of our time during the day checking the client correspondence for every client. 

As has been written about earlier this year in TaxVine, it is the ATO who have completely erred again this time by refusing to send these types of documents to the nominated tax agent. This is a well-known fact. Yet the ATO refuse to correct their own errors and attempt to blame the tax agent or others. 

I have proceeded to complete the necessary ATO forms which are not provided in the client correspondence and one is expected to order them and wait another 20 odd days to receive them in the post. I note that there are comments on the forms that they are supposed to be lodged within a specified period of time from receiving the assessment notice. I am late and no doubt will have to have an argument once again with the ATO phone staff as to why they have an obligation to accept the said forms. 

I also would like to add that when I asked the supervisor where he was located for my records and I was told that it was a secret and I was not allowed to be told. I again explained that this was not correct and insisted on being told where they were located at, eventually getting advised that they both were located in Box Hill. 

I also then attempted to transmit the said two documents to the ATO via the new online services area of the new portal access for tax agents only once again to get stumped as I was not able to locate any area to upload the said completed forms to the ATO so reverted back to the old portal. 

It really is time that the ATO actually provided us access to the PDF document that exists of the necessary instruction and guidance how this system is supposed to actually work. 

As the tax agent does not get any Div 293 assessments etc, one must ask what mess is going to be created by the issuance of the PAYG certificates through myGov at the end of June by the use of STP.

The ATO really needs to get its act together and find a meaningful way to assist the tax agent community with the mess that they have created. 

The tax agent should not be expected to waste and spend their time going through every day to check the client correspondence just to see if there is anything that may affect one of their clients. The ATO need to find a way to tell the tax agent that a document has been filed for a particular client and also who the client is. 

Another waste of a couple of hours of my time for a debt being chased that really should not be chased as we never were aware of it. 

One now must presume that after this rant has been published we again will see some excuse provided by the ATO as to why their systems have failed once again.

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