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25 Jul 14 On ATO attitudes

MEMBER 97 writes:

"I am amazed at the way the ATO responds to some of the comments and issues raised in TAXVINE. It appears that if the ATO has issues such as requiring tax agents to use fax machines for ELS registration or the very slow loading of annual pension payments by Centrelink and the ATO, these are simply brushed aside with a 'sorry' and we’re trying to do something about it but with no commitment to a completion time. 

With regards to the Taxable Payments Annual Report, despite the problems with the Tax Portal and the very unreasonable time frame of 21 July to submit this document, the ATO expects everyone to comply regardless. The ATO suggested in 2014 TAXVINE No 25 (18 July 2014) that if there are issues, then tax agents should complete an ATO Assessed Deferral Application Form before 21 July. Obviously, this only gave us the weekend to send in any deferrals and, guess what, the Portal was down Friday and Saturday nights.

When I went to complete this form on Sunday I found that it gives you options to defer income tax returns, activity statements, annual GST returns and Annual PAYG Payment Summaries. There is no way a Taxable payments annual report can be deferred using this form unless you can override the drop down menu. Again this shows a lack of attention to detail in the ATO. They have great big picture visions but little understanding that it requires a strong focus on detailed processes and an understanding of what you are really providing tax agents. I’m sure there will be many tax agents that miss the 21 July deadline because of the many issues that we face trying to meet such a tight timeframe and little help from both the ATO or software providers."

TAX COUNSEL THILINI WICKRAMASURIYA COMMENTS: A meeting of the ATO Tax Practitioner Advisory Group has been scheduled for 22 August 2014. We will raise issues with taxable payments reporting system including the issue raised by Member 97 in that forum and inform all members of the outcome in TaxVine.