MEMBER 82 writes:
“In order to better serve our clients, when a person from the ATO calls in relation to a client and is not able to be put through to the relevant accountant within the practice at the time of the call, our staff members are requested to take a message including the details of what the ATO call is about. Many ATO staff are refusing to provide that information. If it is a simple matter about an outstanding tax payment or outstanding lodgment, by knowing this, contact can be made with the client before calling the ATO back in order to provide an informed response. By not knowing what the call is about, a call back to the ATO is ineffective as if it is about one of those matters, we are unable to advise the ATO of when anything will occur without first talking with the client.
All of our staff are aware of the confidential nature of communications on behalf of clients. As such, there should be no impediment for the ATO staff member to leave a message detailed enough to determine what action is required with whoever answers the phone so that the accountant who does call back won’t have to then hang up from the ATO, make contact with the client and then make a second call back to the ATO. Efficiencies at both ends of the enquiry will be gained.
If the matter is more complex than an outstanding amount or lodgement, leaving a detailed message will still provide efficiencies as it would allow the accountant to look into the situation before calling back to discuss.”