Did You Hear About . . . The Payment You Thought You Sent To The ATO? The Tax Agent Who Is Living The High Life On Your Tax Payments? The Letter of Demand From The ATO For Tax Paid?
A letter is handed to you for ‘urgent attention’. Its the ATO wanting the last three quarters BAS payments. You simply push it to the side because your Tax Agent has it in hand; the payments have always been submitted on time. You have never been late for a payment, even when it has really stretched your cashflow.
That’s what Tax Agents are for after all; to smoothly resolve your taxation committments. It is strange that the ATO letter arrived on your desk when your Tax Agent is your contact point for all taxation matters. You decide to pick it up later and give him a call to, ‘Can you please call the ATO, they say we owe them GST and PAYE tax that has already been paid.
You start on other things, but a thought is niggling you for attention about the letter. Unable to concentrate, you call your administration assistant and ask them to call the Tax Agent to ensure the ATO has got it wrong and to insist they call the ATO to sort it all out. Two minutes later you find out that the number of your Tax Agent is not answering. Strange, so you ask your assistant to call the ATO number on the letter.
It gets worse.
The ATO has not received the payments you have paid to your Tax Agent. They are demanding you pay them direct. You take the call and ask for a supervisor. No, you are told, the payments have not been received and several are overdue. You are given a reference number for your records.
Scan the letter, email it to your Tax Agent with, “PLEASE EXPLAIN” as the subject. The auto-response says they are busy and will contact you as soon as possible. Three days later, still no response. No phone call answered, same auto-response.
This scenario is being lived out by a group of small business owners, as reported by Fairfax Media,
“They [the ATO] are saying, ‘tough luck, cough up’,” says Alex *, one of the victims who spoke to Fairfax Media. “We have been robbed of this money. The ATO are saying, ‘we understand that’; they’re patting you on the back and robbing you at the same time.
“These are not millionaires [being chased]. They’re hard-working small and medium businesses – they used a registered tax agent and were ripped off. There’s been suicide attempts, mental breakdowns, marriage and family breakdowns.”
* Identities have been changed to protect individuals’ privacy.