The ATO has responded to Member 225's comments in last week's TAXVINE - see 2013 TAXVINE No 40 (18 October 2013):
"Last week Member 225 wrote:
'I have always had a problem with the Portal showing lodgment obligations for 3 years prior to the current year for any new taxpayer. After years of complaining via various forums I was told it was a 'system thing' that could not be fixed. This meant for taxpayers with new TFNs or first time earners we had to lodge RNN for years when they had no obligation or get restricted future lodgment dates for that client.
It is even more important now because we agents have our lodgments monitored to ensure we keep our % up to their required level. Thus people who were not late lodgers but described as late because of the Portal now impact on our statistics.
BUT to my horror the Portal has now thrown up years outstanding from over 10 years ago. And thus people who haven’t been late are being given 31 October lodgment dates for no valid reason. My firm wastes so much time trying to fix all these ATO stupid mistakes and I am frankly tired of the cost to me. I have lost so much in the past year because of chasing up the ATO on matters where their administrative systems, or 'silly' letters, or lack of understanding at call centre level, results in us contacting them time and time again, that I feel like rendering a bill to the Commissioner.
I found it refreshing to hear the Commissioner talk about working with SMEs to get through reviews and audits more promptly. I just wish he would pay more attention to the administrative issues that hinder the life of the mere tax agent.'
In response to feedback from Member 225 regarding the Portal showing recently registered clients as not having lodged tax returns for years prior to the year they registered, the ATO would like to contact Member 225 directly.
The ATO also provides the following comments:
This is a known issue and no action is required. You do not need to enter an RNN for years prior to the client's registration and the Portal is not able to accept RNNs for these years as they pre-date the client’s income tax registration. Our processing system will not issue lodgment demand letters as these returns are not necessary.
The 85% on-time lodgment requirement is calculated on the current year’s return and therefore there is no impact on the performance calculation.
You can check your list of expected lodgments using the 'due lodgment report' available through ELS, which provides a list of all clients with an expected lodgment.
The ATO would like to advise other Members with similar concerns that this is a known issue. Information is available on our System issues page under the Portals heading."