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28 Jun 13 On ATO debt collection practices

MEMBER 134 writes:

“Tonight as I sit here doing trust distribution resolutions, I receive from a client a letter which beggars belief.

The letter is from Dun & Bradstreet to whom my client’s case has been ‘ESCALATED’ by the ATO due to non lodgment.

Now understand that there is NO tax currently owing, nor does the client owe any debt of any kind to the ATO and in all likelihood will be due a significant refund upon lodgment.

Does D&B threaten to collect $x?

No, there is nothing to collect!!

So now MY tax dollars are now being spent on debt collectors writing to clients to tell them that they have overdue returns. I would have thought that that was clearly, unambiguously and totally an ATO responsibility.

Whilst I know (but entirely disapprove of the fact) that the ATO has legislative backing to contract out debt collection I would appreciate their prompt advice as to the legislative authority for them to disclose a client’s tax lodgment history to an UNINTERESTED 3rd party. D&B have NO power to enforce lodgment, they have NO power to investigate the reasons for non lodgment and they have NO power to extend lodgment deadlines SURELY?

What next? Perhaps Bunnings Ltd could take on a contract to remind people of FBT due dates, or maybe Virgin Airlines would be best placed to harass errant BAS lodgers. I’m sure that for a price, Langtrees and similar establishments in all Capital Cities could supply girls to ask clients nicely to only make ‘legal’ deductions.”