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MEMBER 80 writes:

"We really must commend the person in the ATO responsible for preparing the recent batch of Annual PAYG Instalment notices for 2014. It is a truly confusing document and is sure to keep us occupied for hours trying to explain it to our clients. The special features this year include: 

- Basing the instalment on the 2012 assessment, even though the 2013 notice of assessment was issued in November 2013 of the previous year and was refundable with no instalments due for 2013-14.  I look forward to explaining to those clients why the ATO has issued a notice at all.

- Printing beside the amount the instalment amount – 'Your PAYG instalment for the period 1 July 2013 to September 2013' or other random quarterly period in the 2014 year. This master stroke creates wonderful confusion for clients when they read this in conjunction with the printing of '1 July 2013 to 30 June 2014' under the heading 'Annual PAYG instalment notice'. Nothing like having two sets of periods to create confusion. Again, I look forward to explaining to my clients that it isn’t actually a quarterly instalment amount, and that there won’t be any more annual/quarterly instalment notices for the 2014 financial year (we hope).

Thanks again, ATO. Well done, it truly takes bureaucratic skill of world standard to make a single page document so confusing. Incidentally, where do we send the bill for the time we will waste thanks to your careless efforts?

I know it will be difficult for them to work out how to overcome these issues so, in the interests of saving time, perhaps I can suggest two apparently simple steps:

1. Base the instalment on the most tax recent tax return lodged, particularly if it was lodged months before the notice is produced.

2. Don’t print anything besides the instalment amount or, if you must, print the dates covering the period 1 July to 30 June, not a quarterly period. 

MEMBER 81 writes:

"I have now received my clients' annual PAYG Instalment notices and have noticed several clients have received such annual notice after previously receiving a letter stating that they would no longer receive instalment activity statements. When will the ATO get its act together? I wonder if any fellow members have experienced the same situation?"