Delay in the processing of your 2011 income tax return
Dear [Purple Wyrm]
We are writing to advise of a delay in the processing of your recently lodged 2011 tax return. Your return will be reviewed as it has been identified as containing some information that we want to further investigate prior to issuing an assessment.
We are using specialist technology to help us identify and review returns that may contain missing and/or incorrect information. Claims outside normal individual or industry ranges will result in all aspects of a person’s tax position being reviewed. Last year 71% of these returns were adjusted prior to the notices of assessment issuing. This resulted in an increase in the amount of tax payable and in many instances a penalty was also imposed.
Some of the common issues identified include:
* understated income and/or fictitious payment summary details
* overstated or fraudulent deductions
* non entitlement to claimed offsets/rebate
* instances of identity takeover.
What we will do
We have a responsibility to the government and the community to ensure that everyone pays the correct amount of tax under the law. We will be undertaking further investigations and will compare the information in your return with data supplied by other parties, such as employers.
We anticipate your return is likely to be delayed for a minimum of 12 weeks while we conduct our investigations. We will hold your 2011 return until are investigations are finalised.
What happens next
If during the course of these investigations we are able to cross reference information you have reported in your tax return with information provided by other parties, we will issue your notice of assessment without the need to contact you further.
If we require further information to verify particular details within your return we will contact you and request it. If you have claimed work-related expenses exceeding $300 in total then you should ensure you have the written evidence available in case it is requested.
Credit interest is payable by the Australian Tax Office (ATO) in certain circumstances. If you are due a refund you may be entitled to an amount of credit interest as a result of the delay in issuing your notice of assessment. Where applicable we will automatically calculate and credit your account with the interest amount payable.
For more information
If you are expecting a refund and experiencing serious financial hardship we may be able to arrange for your return to be processed as a priority. Visit www.ato.gov.au and search for ‘hardship’.
If you then have any further questions please phone 13 28 61 between 8:00am and 6:00pm, Monday to Friday.
If you need assistance in languages other than English please phone the Translating and Interpreting Service on 13 14 50.
What if you need to phone us
We need to know we are talking to the right person before we can discuss your tax affairs. We will ask for details only you or someone you have authorised would know. An authorised person is osmeone who you have previously told us can act on your behalf. If you can, please have your tax file number (TFN) with you.
[Some ATO Pleb]
What the hell?!? What in the name of all that’s sane and holy would trigger the ATO to ‘investigate’ my tax return claim?!? I haven’t done anything the slightest bit different to the last ten claims I’ve put in and yet suddenly I’m under suspicion of tax fraud???
Not only does this mean that I won’t get my return in time for my holiday (which I was really hoping for) but the entire trip will have a cloud over it – not knowing if I’m going to be raided by the AFP or something on my return. Great. Thanks for that ATO.
(Need I add that I have never attempted to defraud the tax system in my life? I mean, sure, that’s exactly what someone who has attempted to defraud the tax system would say, but it’s still the truth.)
Later: I just called the ATO to try and find out what’s going on and advise them I’ll be out of the country for a few weeks of their “investigation”, and it turns out they’re all on holidays until next week. Our tax dollars at work!