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30 Jul 10 On the ATO's performance (or lack thereof)

MEMBER 227 writes:

"If the position wasn't so serious it would be laughable.

The ATO call centres are now refusing to escalate processing of tax returns unless the delay is 30 days. Apparently the "service" standard of 14 days is being ignored and a new 'processing time" of 30 days applies. The Relationship Manager area refuses to do anything to help and even refuses to take calls on the problem.

Who is running the show? How can service standards be changed without advice to agents and discussion with professional bodies?"


MEMBER 228 writes:

"I think the time has come for another round of administrative disobedience from tax agents in response to the ATO's pathetic performance for the last six months. I say this from the personal experience etched on my psyche of dealing with the ATO and its sheer incompetency in implementing the "Change For The Worst" System and the Commissioner's breathtaking ignorance of its performance in reporting to his political masters in the public arena that the system is doing very well!!!

Massive assessment delays, long hours in liaising with the ATO over such matters, dealing with irate and sometimes desperate clients, assessments missing refund cheques, four page assessments, ATO spam e-mails trumpeting that all is well in the midst of the crisis, Portal communication upgrades disruptions in late May & early June 2010 during final lodgment season, the curmudgeonly one week lodgment extension in supposed recognition of their problem, tax agent cash flow held up due to non appearance of client assessments that pay the bills, continuing 2009 assessment non-appearance, trepidation of what the Change System will do to 2010 assessments and now the ATO wants us, the tax agents, to resanitise our lodgment lists which the ATO so kindly has reloaded back up with clients who no longer need to lodge a return.

A tax agent will need to dig out the departed client's file to obtain a correct forwarding address in order to achieve a successful deletion via the Portal - what a monumental waste of time at the start of tax season!!! After spending 2.75 hours last Monday from 8.30am to 11.15am on the telephone to the ATO correcting ATO errors and chasing up missing 2009 assessments - I have snapped!!

An ATO representative has since kindly visited my office at my request and has been informed that my firm will seek monetary compensation for our time that the ATO have wasted over the past six months due to the Change System. Despite the apparently simple looking two page compensation application form, I am cynically (and sorry to say so) in no doubt this process will most likely end up as being as frustrating and futile as the ATO Change System itself but at least I will have my say for what it is worth!!!"


MEMBER 229 writes:

"It has just become apparent to us through clients bringing in large June quarter instalments that the superb talent & software system at the ATO has failed yet again. It seems that any return lodged after the March 2010 PAYG cycle is having June 10 PAYG instalments advised by the ATO that are complete nonsense. In just one example, we have 2 companies that each had $3,000 total tax payable in the 2009 year, they were lodged in late March 2010 and the ATO has just issued PAYG instalment amounts of $62,000 each for the June 10 quarter. Where in the heck did those figures come from? There are countless more.

Thanks to the ATO, we yet again have to do their work for them (as planned by them I feel anyway with such changes to the Tax Agent Act etc) and we are now trying to identify the clients lodged between March & June 2010 who may be also affected so they can vary the PAYG before the due date of 28/07/10.

Thanks Commissioner, we knew you did not give a damn about Tax Accountants & Agents, but now we really feel you could not care if we even existed at all. Good luck Commissioner when you have almost no tax accountants left in the industry, we will see how clever you were then."


MEMBER 230 writes:

"The new 'system' is having troubles still apparently - this time a request for direct payment of Mr and Mrs Co-Contribution - application lodged requesting direct credit into Commonwealth Bank account.

Husband's correspondence saying the transfer was processed was sent 13.7.10 direct to husband in another state - my address for service of notice ignored.

Wife’s correspondence comes to me 15.7.10 two weeks ago with the words "Yours refund of $1,400 has been forwarded to your nominated account"

Husband rings me to say he has his - where is the wife's?

I say I have the wife's info - and have been waiting for his.

I say look on 15.7.10 for a deposit of $1,400 - he says it's not there - I say it must be there - the ATO says so.

I call ATO this morning - "aah yes, there was a problem with the 'system' - no EFTs went through two weeks ago so they will write out a cheque for $1,400 today and post it to me - sorry about that".

Now, I must try that with my next BAS payment..."

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