Complaints outcomes and feedback
Our complaints handling service continues to yield positive outcomes for taxpayers and tax practitioners. For example:
• we aided the trustee of a deceased estate to reach resolution in a case that had been running for over a year due to delays in the allocation of a private ruling request and incorrect advice that the ATO had given. Our intervention secured speedy action to address the delay and enabled the trustee to proceed with finalising the estate;
• we assisted a taxpayer who had not been afforded sufficient opportunity to respond to ATO information requests during an audit that resulted in two years of amended business activity statements and a significant debt being raised. As a result of our investigation, the ATO acknowledged that the audit should not have been finalised so quickly, suspended debt collection activity and allowed further time for information to be provided; and
• we helped a taxpayer whose bank had been issued with a garnishee notice even though he had actively worked to ensure that the majority of the debt had been paid and was well on his way to paying the balance. Following our investigation, the ATO acknowledged that further checks should have been undertaken before the garnishee notice was issued and an apology was promptly issued to the taxpayer.
We are also happy to report that the feedback that our staff have received from taxpayers and tax practitioners continues to be overwhelmingly positive. 78 per cent of complainants who were surveyed over the past financial year said that they were satisfied with our service and over 80 per cent of them indicated that our staff were respectful, professional and knowledgeable.
Some of the positive comments that our team has received include:
• Thank you very much for taking my case to the ATO, I am pleased with the response. The assistance you have given has helped a great deal to cut through the many channels and obstacles I felt myself dealing with;
• I’ve been meaning to get in touch with you to thank you for your help…I’m very grateful for you, the intervention on my behalf,…I wouldn't have received such a quick response if I had tried to deal with them on my own I’m certain of that; and
• I am sure I speak on behalf of the [taxpayer] when I say that your representation on our behalf has been far more than we would have ever anticipated and is genuinely appreciated…
From time to time, we also receive feedback from our stakeholders on how we can improve our service delivery. We welcome such feedback and have actively worked to address dissatisfaction directly with those affected as well as on a broader level to improve our service.