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MEMBER 162 writes:

"I did not think I would ever have any problems with meeting the ATO’s 85% lodgment requirement until I added a new client yesterday (a small company whose history indicated they would have a normal 15 May 2015 lodgment due date for their income tax return). After adding the client in the Portal, I found that my lodgment report for income tax returns (generated from TAP) shows the due date for the company’s 2014 tax return as being 31 October 2014. Given this company’s prior year returns are all up to date, and no tax was payable in any year, it seems very unfair that the company doesn’t get any extension. There’s no way I can prepare the return in the next 2 weeks. Then I looked at the “lodgment status – income tax” screen for the company in the Portal, and it shows the due date for the 2014 tax return as being 15/5/15. How can there be two different due dates reported for the same company from the same ATO system? And which due date am I assessed on for the 85% requirement?

Despite the non-billable time I have already spent getting to know the client in order to win their business, I am tempted to send the client away and they can try to get on someone else’s lodgment list before 31 October as I don’t want to take the chance of failing the 85% requirement. The small fee I will receive for the return will not compensate me for having to deal with the problems if I don’t meet the 85%, nor for having to chase the ATO about which is the correct due date (and will I be able to rely on what I’m told anyway?). Does the ATO have any idea how much stress something like this causes?

Can the ATO confirm that if there are inconsistent due dates reported in the Portal, an agent can take the latest due date as being correct?

Thanks TAXVINE for allowing a forum to vent concerns such as these."

TAX COUNSEL THILINI WICKRAMASURIYA COMMENTS: We will note this issue for raising at the next meeting of the ATO’s Lodgment Working Group which is anticipated to take place next month.