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20 Apr 1212 On ATO foreign income letters and other matters

MEMBER 93 writes:

“Re Member 84 (2012 TaxVine No 11) and Member 87 (2012 TaxVine No 12), I too have had a foreign income undeclared letter. Also did not respond as, according to the client, it was a gift from a parent overseas. Subsequent ATO letter arrives stating we have details of income etc and are preparing to amend. Duly respond by fax, within time frames demanded, stating was a gift. Amended assessment then arrives asking for $20K+ in tax payable. When I phoned the ATO, they looked into it and advised that my fax was received, uploaded to their system and that an error was made. Please ignore the amended assessment as an ‘amending’ amended assessment will now issue, correcting it all. My request for a name or department to send invoice for time wasting, faxes and phone calls to clients was declined. This is the problem. NO-ONE at the ATO is accountable.

I have had seven property disposal letters. Five were the sole or principal residence of the taxpayer, one was held as trustee of a superannuation fund that declared the gain and the final one was declared in 2009 year, but ATO super computer ‘data-matched’ disposal in 2010 year, obviously the year the property settled and the titles were changed. Again a waste of my time and money!

And on that, why are they discriminating against FBT return preparers with less than 25 returns? Unless you are hospitalised or, worse, dead, they will not give you a deferral. Self-assessment deferrals are a joke. Also, if you do die and get a deferral it will only be for lodgment, the client will still have to pay by the due date!!!!

(For the record, I am still waiting to hear if I can have a deferral of one company return due on the 2nd April. My request was sent in March.)

 Above it all though, what are our professional bodies doing for US other than speak/talk or discuss with the ATO. Despite all of TaxVine bleating from US, all you do is state we talked to them. Well I guess they aren’t listening. The professional bodies speaking or talking or discussing ain’t enough either. I bet the lodgment program stupidity that exists when a prior return is not lodged by the 31st October, making the current one (not usually due until May of the next year) automatically late hasn’t been removed either. This is unfair and unjust – alright one year is late, but that is all. What have the professional bodies done about this, as I have asked about having this draconian measure removed in the past? Probably just talked about it with the ATO - thanks a bunch.”

THE TAX INSTITUTE’S TAX COUNSEL, STEPHANIE CAREDES, COMMENTS: “The Tax Institute works tirelessly to represent its members to the ATO in the forums that are available to it and works towards resolving the issues raised at these forums. The Tax Institute is also in regular contact with particular areas of the ATO, such as the Professional Association Liaison Unit, to pursue these matters outside of the regular forum meetings.

As one example, The Tax Institute’s efforts in recent weeks to assist members with delayed refunds held up in the refund integrity checks process has brought many of the matters referred to it for assistance to a speedy resolution. The Tax Institute achieves results for its members.”


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