Tuesday, May 8, 2012

The Federal Government is Broke and I am a Tax Cheat.

The 8th of February 2012, made me realise that the Federal Government really is hard up for money and that government employees have no idea how to perform their job let alone meet KPI's.
I received a letter dated the 8th February 2012, stating :"You may not be eligible for *********** tax refund that you claimed in 2009 and 2010 tax returns."

Claiming that I had not made payment application for benefit **** from Centrelink.

Hate to tell you ATO - but you were WRONG. I had claimed BOTH benefits, one had been accepted, the 2010 period in PAID July 2011 and the 2009 period was denied by Centrelink because Centrelink couldn't "data-match" with ATO records.

I resubmitted the Centrelink claim for benefit **** for the 2009 period and blindly waited for a response. Centrelink guidelines are 28 day turn-around. I advised ATO this was the case and sat back and waited (stupid me)

I re-entered the Centrelink office on the 21st March, they advised me that the claim was still being processed. I asked for a letter confirming this was the case, which I received and duly faxed off to the to Centrelink AND ATO data-matching team office. NO RESPONSE. Exert "As this matter is beyond my ability to solve. I just have to wait and consequently you will also have to wait. This also means that the adjustment to my tax return for the period 2009 can not be enforced until such time as Centrelink data-match information previously provided to them in July 2011."

On the 17th April, low and behold a revised assessment is received from the ATO claiming I owe them $1000. I duly send off ANOTHER letter to both the ATO and Centrelink. No response is received from either party. Exert: "As I have previously explained to you. Centrelink have failed to fulfil their end of the application, regarding benefit **** which was submitted to them on the 27th February 2012. I have now received an amended assessment, which I will not pay until Centrelink either pay or decline my application, which has been submitted. not once BUT twice for this period."

On the 19th April I decide enough is enough and submit a complaint to the Commonwealth Ombudsman. Low and behold within 48 hours I am talking to sane people from both the Ombudsman AND ATO (Not Centrelink)

At NO POINT IN time did ANYONE from Centrelink contact me to discuss this matter, even when escalated to the Commonwealth Ombudsman. NOT ONCE.

The ATO refuse to acknowledge they are wrong in applying a penalty, when evidence obviously shows doubt. They will only extend the payment due date, nothing else. But better than nothing I suppose.

On the 24th April 2012, (57 days after second application) a determination is made in my favour (as I knew it would be) and Centrelink have to pay me (as I knew would be the case.)

I then have to contact the ATO and advise them this is the case. Exert: "The stress you placed upon me was unacceptable and no-one was prepared to accept the fact that I am an honest law-abiding citizen. No wonder people dislike the ATO and staff face issues of verbal abuse, in relation to determinations that are incorrect. and force people to approach the Ombudsman to get things resolved."

The matter is now closed, but the fact that Centrelink did not contact me regarding ANY correspondence sent to them and ATO take 5 days to acknowledge fax or not at all in some cases, is deplorable.

My only conclusion in all of this, is that the Federal Government is broke and they are hoping the Little Mr and Mrs Smith, will just pay up and shut up and save the Government billions in benefits and reap illegal back payments.

Have you had a similar experience?

 My previous run-ins with Centrelink.
Social Security - September 2009
Social Security - Name and Shame - July 2011

**Centrelink finally called me on the 10th May 2012 at 5pm.........

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