The recent Four Corners story, ‘Mongrel bunch of bastards’, that aired last Monday night, provided several instances of taxpayers feeling aggrieved by their treatment by the ATO.
But the story was also notable in that no tax agents were interviewed to give their account of their interactions with the ATO.
The story reminded me of the Frank Zappa quote about music journalists being people who could not write, interviewing subjects who could not speak, for readers with no comprehension.
My understanding of the story is as follows:
1. it appears there are processing issues with research and development grants being granted (probably due to the amount of money involved);
2. one ATO office is or was over-zealous in issuing garnishee notices to recover outstanding tax liabilities; and
3. the ATO has the power to cancel an entity’s ABN if they are not complying with their reporting obligations.
However, balancing the extreme examples in ‘Mongrel bunch of bastards’, is the fact that the vast majority of taxpayers who are entitled to tax refunds are able to receive those refunds very quickly now, sometimes in a matter of days.
The moral of the story – make sure you have a good tax agent and do not engage lawyers in matters that the tax agent can handle for you. It could prove very costly or put you on TV!
2016/17 tax returns
Could you please contact us immediately if you have yet to lodge your 2017 tax return, as we will need your information by the end of April to meet the lodgement deadline of mid- May.
If the lodgement deadline is missed, the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) may impose late lodgement penalties and general interest charges.
To prevent the possibility of ATO penalties, you should apply to be added to the practice’s lodgement list and then, should the ATO contact you, ask that their enquiries be handled by the practice.
In commemoration of the ABC TV Four Corners’ story ‘Mongrel bunch of bastards’ I hereby present James Ensor’s Skeletons Fighting over a Pickled Herring, (1891)