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MEMBER 246 writes:

"When we lodge our tax returns under the self assessment system, all the ATO should do is issue the assessment notices. Banks carry out these transactions overnight and the ATO should too.

What is happening now is the ATO is computer and manual checking the assessments prior to issue. (ie refunds greater the $2,000 taking longer etc). They are in effect assessing the returns.

Has self assessment failed?
So, when taking into account self assessment and the new Tax Agent regime (which commenced being reviewed in 1992 when self assessment came in), the ATO has passed all the responsibility to the taxpayer and Tax Agent whilst it continues to assess the tax returns lodged.
Any wonder the ATO treats us as stupid."

MEMBER 247 writes:

"I have had a case where I lodged tax returns for a married couple on 19 July 2010. The husband's refund issued and was paid into his bank account on 2 August. As of today, 6 August, the wife's refund is still sitting as a credit on her account with the ATO. I waited the full fourteen days from date of lodgment (like a good, well trained tax agent) and rang to ask why the wife's refund has not issued. I was told that random returns are being pulled from the system to be checked for accuracy. The officer I was speaking to was obviously reading from a script and each time I asked a question she went back to the beginning of the script and repeated what she had already said. I asked if there was anything wrong with this particular return and she assured me that there was nothing wrong, they were just doing random checking.  When I asked when the refund would issue I got the usual "it should be within thirty days" and if it had not issued by then, I could call back.
My client (the wife) is absolutely furious and cannot understand why her husband has his refund (under $2,000) but she has not received her refund which, surprisingly, is over $4,500. Is there any way we can find out why these refunds are being held back? I have enough on my plate without having to explain to irate clients (on a daily basis) why their refunds have not issued within fourteen days.
Thank God for TAXVINE - at least we can whinge to others who will understand!"

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