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27 Feb 15 The continuing saga of Member 1

Regular readers of TAXVINE's Member Feedback will be familiar with the trials and tribulations of Member 1, whose client's withholding status was reinstated to medium (monthly), even though changed circumstances meant that in future their status should be small (quarterly). The ATO responded in 2015 TAXVINE No 3 (6 February 2015), and we gave what we thought was the last word to Member 1 in 2015 TAXVINE No 4 (13 February 2015), in which Member 1 advised that their client's payment cycle had been changed to quarterly. Alas, it was not to be. Member 1 now writes: 

"Member 1 again... sitting here in Brisbane working on a wet Saturday with TC Marcia fizzling out, when my email alert sounds and I receive an email from the ATO as follows:

'Online Activity Statement notification

Your next online activity statements are now available for collection. Click here to go directly to the list of available activity statements.'

I click on 'Click here'...nothing happens, ok this is Google, try Internet Explorer - same outcome, try Mozilla - same outcome. What is going on? I was not expecting any BAS/IAS notifications, so I check via the Tax Agent Portal and I find that a February IAS for a client is required to be lodged on or before 23 March 2015. This is for the same client for whom I have been attempting to have the withholding cycle changed from monthly to quarterly. The ATO did advise in their letter dated 05 January 2015 which was received on 11 Feb 2015 that the approval for quarterly cycles was approved and approved from 01 November 2014.

I also noted that the January 2015 IAS had not been discontinued so I lodged it whilst on the Portal, BUT, why are these IAS not discontinued (or not issued at all in respect of February 2015) after the ATO advice dated 05 January 2015 and approved from 01 November 2014?

Ah ha...I then realised that the ATO has a sense of humour as clearly evidenced by these extracts from ATO responses published in or referred to in Member Feedback last week - see 2015 TAXVINE No 5 (20 February 2015).

'Unfortunately post this move, we have detected problems associated with removing clients and ending Client authorisation through the Portal' (see Member 22).

'...was the result of user testing and a co-design process...As well the ATO is examining through its Future ato.gov.au program to provide the best possible client experience on the ATO's website by examining irritants for clients...' (ATO response to Member 8).

'...cases such as yours highlight we have further work to do' (ATO response to Member 9).

Not laughing, Commissioner."