23 Mar 12 On ATO tax agent time wasting
MEMBER 60 writes:
"Our office is now experiencing a wave of letters from the ATO advising their intention to amend our clients' returns for the Education Tax Refund claim in prior years. One of our client's spouses received the Family Tax Benefit and the letters from the Family Assistance Office confirming they were eligible for the rebate, however the ATO is unable to check this before sending letters to our office. My argument is, that they need to check both parents' taxable incomes to assess eligibility for the FTB but are unable to check before sending us a letter. We now have to go to the client, ask them for a copy of the letter from Family Assistance or contact Family Assistance and sit on hold for over 30 mins, then provide us with a copy, then we have to write to the ATO proving they were indeed eligible for the claim.
This is pure insanity and wasting the time Tax Agents should be using to provide services that ensure compliance is being met, not dealing with questions the ATO should already know the answers to. The ATO should be liaising with other government bodies before they even consider contacting us, we have enough bureaucratic nonsense to deal with eg 12 weeks review, annual PAYG Summaries reports that the ATO claim they haven't received, following up on refunds that haven't been paid etc. Come on ATO, how about a fair go for Tax Agents or a rebate to compensate us for our non-billable time?"