ATO should compensate accountants

The Australian Taxation Office (ATO) should compensate accountants for lost time and productivity due to the failure of ATO technology, according to the Institute of Public Accountants (IPA).

IPA chief executive, Andrew Conway has made the call claiming accountants have been constantly reassured by the ATO that it will fix it system but these assurances are now falling on deaf ears.

"We are constantly being reassured by the ATO that it will fix its system going forward and practitioners can expect more robust ATO interactions from the deployment of better technology in 2017," he said. "These reassurances are now falling on deaf ears of our members when the portal goes down for two days this week."

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"In 2015, the ATO acknowledged that its use of technology and administrative changes combined with the existing ATO portal issues have added to the frustrations and lost productivity for many small tax practitioners," he said.

Conway noted that the ATO portal downtime this week had coincided with the release of the Inspector General of Taxation (IGT) report ‘Review into the Taxpayers' Charter and Taxpayer Protections' which highlighted deficiencies in the Compensation for Detriment Causes by Defective Administration (CDDA) scheme.

He said the report had confirmed that the CCDA scheme did not adequately address productivity loss, opportunity costs (particularly for tax practitioners) or psychological injury and that it had further stated that the CCDA scheme did not adequately compensate for losses arising from major ATO changes in process or IT.

"Our members have highlighted to us on many occasions that they have suffered productivity loss, missed deadlines, and incurred irrecoverable costs as well as damage to their reputations and relationships with their clients," Conway said.

"We have and continue to provide the ATO with real examples of these practical issues."

He said IPA member feedback had consistently stated that the ATO portal "which is an essential tool of trade for practitioners and agents" had been a constant point of frustration due to the portal's instability and unreliability.

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