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19 Sep 14 On ATO debt collectors - the ATO responds

In 2014 TAXVINE No 33 (12 September 2014), Member 131 wrote about apparent breaches by ATO debt collectors who contact agents seeking their assistance to collect taxpayer debts. 

THE ATO NOW RESPONDS 

"We value our partnership with tax agents and appreciate the role they play in assisting taxpayers to meet their obligations. Where a taxpayer has nominated a tax agent as their authorised contact, the ATO will generally contact the agent in the first instance to discuss the taxpayer’s affairs. Most tax agents want to be the primary contact for their clients however, if a tax agent prefers not to be the first point of contact, they can add or delete contact details via the Tax Agent Portal to ensure they are not contacted unnecessarily. Alternately, at the beginning of our call, tax agents can request that the ATO officer contacts the taxpayer direct.

To meet our requirements under the telecommunications Act, ATO officers are required to advise at the beginning of the call that the call may be monitored or recorded for quality purposes. When providing this advice we also provide the opportunity for agents to ask that we cease recording the call. 

Staff are subject to stringent security, privacy, service and quality requirements which are rigorously enforced. Where an agent feels one of our staff have not acted within these policies, the ATO would be happy to review the call upon provision of the details from the agent."