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28 Mar 13 On the ATO's garnishee powers

MEMBER 53 writes:

"I had a frantic phone call from a client this week at 5pm saying that his 12 year old son's credit union account had been issued with a garnishee notice from the ATO for a 5 figure sum. The credit union had that day withdrawn a 4 figure sum (probably the balance of the account) and forwarded the payment to the ATO. My client contacted the ATO to be told that my client did not owe any money but unless my client had the 'reference number' they could not tell him anything about the garnishee notice.

The next morning the credit union was able to tell my client the ATO reference number so a further call to the ATO was met with the comment of 'It looks like we got the wrong person'. Obviously the ATO debtor had the same name as my client's son and apparently that debtor would have received a letter advising him that the ATO were going to garnishee this particular credit union account, so you can imagine the joy the debtor would have knowing that his debt was going to be 'paid' by someone with the same name as his. The ATO apologised for the 'stuff up' but how long it takes for the son's account to be reimbursed heaven only knows.

I told the client that he should ask for an official apology letter on behalf of his son and that unless the matter is resolved quickly then a phone call to A Current Affair might be in order."