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11 Mar 11 On ATO youth allowance letters

MEMBER 33 writes:

"The ATO approach is disappointing in two aspects.

Correspondence is being sent directly to clients with the proclamation that owners of unclaimed letters will not have their Assessment amended. This would not be such a problem if the letter was posted to the 'Postal Address'.

Secondly, the letters are not being sent to all recipients of Youth Allowance. If there is already a claim for self-education, no letter is sent. It is surprising that the ATO is not aware that in some professions e.g. legal profession, graduates are required to further their education at tertiary institutions and so the claim relates to employment not Youth Allowance.

In this instance, the client's claim has already been reduced by the mandatory $250. Does this mean that the ATO should be allowing a deduction for $800 against Youth Allowance, being the $550 plus the $250 that is normally not deductible?"

MEMBER 34 writes:

"The ATO has done it again - found yet another way to drive a wedge between tax agents and our clients.

Received a letter about the ATO allowing a standard deduction for study expenses following their Anstis decision loss. The ATO in its wisdom has decided to again ignore my clients' nominated preference for their postal address and will instead be writing to clients directly.

The ATO advise that if their letter is returned unclaimed then clients' assessments will not be amended. What is wrong with firstly writing to clients at their nominated postal address, and if that's returned check with their appointed tax agent?

The sample letter to taxpayers makes no reference what so ever about tax agents being able to help their clients.

No doubt this course of action must have been decided by the ATO in isolation without discussion with professional bodies, and with very little consideration for the relationship tax agents have with our clients."

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