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18 May 12 On excess contributions letters

MEMBER 108 writes: 

"Wouldn't it be helpful if, with the letters that the ATO send before the issue of the assessment, the ATO disclose what information they have? The letters now sound like they are playing a game of cards and send the client off to check anything they can and come to the table for a game of poker. Simply outline what information they have so at least it is traceable.

The ATO officers that I have spoken to freely discuss what they have when you get to phone them, so why not provide the information upfront to save the 30 minutes getting to someone that can talk to us?

After all there should be no privacy issues as they are dealing with their beloved clients!!"

MEMBER 109 writes:

"I got a call from a client yesterday about a letter he received directly from the ATO headed 'You may have to pay excess contributions tax - 2010-11 For your information and action' (Phew, nice heading and thanks for excluding me. After all why would I want to be interested in what the ATO have to say to my client seeing I've only been his registered tax agent for around 20 years?).

Second problem: It mentioned a concessional cap of $25,000 for my client who is over 65 and still working full-time (finding a date of birth linked to a TFN is tough when you obviously have to do it manually); and

Third problem: It specified an excess non-concessional contribution which was non-existent (they couldn't read the details correctly from the superfund's return).

When we rang the ATO, we were told it was only a generic letter anyway and it would be okay when we lodged his 2011 income tax return. Thanks for that.

I think clients should be hit with more pre-emptive strikes like this and then we wouldn't have to spend our time explaining to the client what the ATO considers service delivery. It would become the norm and tax agents could all retire.

In fact it reminds me of that joke about the tax return wherein it asks: How much did you earn? Then it says, Send it to me...

As you can gather, I'm so glad to be a tax agent working together with the ATO to bring a better life for us all.

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