Taking The Stress Out Of Tax Time

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28th October 2009, 07:30am - Views: 1234





People Feature Commonwealth Ombudsman 1 image

People Feature Commonwealth Ombudsman 2 image


MEDIA RELEASE



Wednesday, 28 October 2009

Taking the stress out of tax time

According to the old proverb, nothing in this life can said to be certain except death and

taxes. ‘While this may be so and tax time is stressful for some, people should not despair

if they run into problems that they cannot resolve with the Australian Taxation Office

(ATO),’ Commonwealth Ombudsman Professor John McMillan said today.

Professor McMillan, who is also the Taxation Ombudsman, maintained that the ATO

would inevitably make some mistakes—especially given that the number of tax returns to

be processed ran into many millions. Complaint and review mechanisms existed to help

sort out mistakes.

‘With tax time drawing to a close for another year, it is worth reminding people that if they

have a tax-related problem that they are unable to resolve with the ATO, my office may

be able to help,’ Professor McMillan said.

‘Tax issues can be complicated and not everyone has the knowledge or confidence to

respond adequately when they believe that they have been treated unfairly. Having

challenged a decision once without success, taxpayers can become overwhelmed and

back down even though they think that they are right and the ATO wrong.

‘It’s the role of my office to investigate such problems and to ensure that all taxpayers

are treated fairly.’

In 2008, the Ombudsman received 1,154 taxation complaints about a range of concerns

and difficulties that required investigation. Broadly, the complaints were about:


lodgement and processing issues (27 per cent), such as the application of taxation

law to lump sum payments, incorrect information submitted by tax agents,

processing delays and taxpayer difficulties with PAYG payments


debt collection (20 per cent)


administration of the superannuation guarantee (11 per cent)


taxpayer information (6 per cent)


auditing (5 per cent).

Sixty-five per cent of tax-related complaints to the Ombudsman were resolved by the

ATO: providing a clearer explanation to the complainant; offering an apology; expediting

its processes; providing a financial remedy; or undertaking to reconsider a decision.

Complaints to the Ombudsman can be made by calling 1300 362 072 or completing and


People who prefer to speak in a language other than English can contact the

Ombudsman’s office through the Translating and Interpreter Service on tel. 131 450. A

TTY Service for people who are hearing, sight or speech impaired is available through

the National Relay Service on tel. 133 677.

__________________________________

Media contact:

Fiona Skivington, Director Public Affairs

0408 861 803






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