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27 May 11 On the ATO and written responses to objections

MEMBER 81 writes:

“We are acting on behalf of a taxpayer who received an ‘audit’ letter to the effect that she had failed to disclose interest income in her 2008 income tax return. On the TAP report, the accounts (2) are styled ‘taxpayer’s name in trust for taxpayer’s child’. We wrote to the ATO within the required time, informing them that the monies were monies of the child arising from birthday gifts etc, and that the parent had never drawn on those monies, therefore the parent should not be assessed on the interest income.

Four months later we received an amended assessment for 2008, assessing the taxpayer to the interest income, and calling for payment of the unpaid tax. Being the conscientious tax agents that we are, we immediately lodged an objection against the amended assessment. After three months, we had not heard anything from the ATO other than the obligatory debt collection call, so we contacted the ATO to find out the progress of the objection. We were told that a decision had been made on the objection two weeks after the receipt of the objection. When we queried why we had not received a notice of decision (and could not find note of same on the portal), we were told, and I quote: ‘The ATO does not have the resources to answer to all objections to Notices of Assessment in writing.’ Needless to say, our response was scathing … the matter progresses.

Can someone please advise the ATO that it is time to get back to basics, ie, the proper administration of the tax system.”