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MEMBER 65 writes:

“The ATO Early Collections rings. 'Your client has defaulted because it has not lodged its March 2014 BAS'. I inform the ATO officer that it has been necessary to apply for an extension of time to lodge. Lodgment was due on 26th May, 2014. Lodgment extension sought until 30th May, 2014. The application went in on 26th May, 2014. The reason for the delay, the computer system was not functioning properly and lodgments were being rejected. Then the ATO officer made my day: ‘Has the application been approved?’ As I pointed out to the officer it would be 10 days at least before I would know. However, the BAS would be lodged on 30th May, 2014. Amount payable, about $300.

I said to myself, it just goes to show sections in the ATO live in their own little worlds. Is it any wonder that the pages of Member Feedback recount stories of the frustration of dealing with the ATO? I have come to the conclusion the ATO needs to be dismantled and reconstructed. It is in the interest of everybody in the tax industry to have an efficient and competent ATO. Why? So our valuable time can be devoted to servicing our clients AND meeting the 85% lodgments, not dealing with ridiculous time wasting activities for which neither the client or the ATO wants to pay! It’s alright for the tax agent to bear the cost.

One other thing – NO ONE has ever asked my opinion about changes, eg the new deferral applications. Instead of the ATO saying it has consulted with practitioners, please identify which practitioners and I don’t mean the professional bodies.

One day somebody is going to turn on the light and realise the practice issues for the Big 4 are different from the medium sized firms and are again different for the smaller firms. I live in hope that one day the light will be turned on but I suspect I will be food for the worms before that happens.

Finally, things could be so much better. I refuse to believe that there are no tax officers who hold this view also.”

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