Visiting the dentist is one of the worst experiences that people have. The anticipation, the pain, and the unexpected nasty surprise – both in your mouth and pocket!
One of life’s other unpleasant experiences is a tax audit. Those of us, who have nothing to fear, would still get quite concerned if we were notified of an ATO audit. However, if any of your clients have claimed a doubtful deduction or not included some income, they are likely to be much more concerned. This is just what about the tax problem itself.
What about the surprise when the audit itself gets tough?
It doesn’t always matter how prepared you are, or how much guidance you have provided to your clients, audits won’t always go to plan. So, when a situation arises that throws you off course, what’s the best course of action?
One way is to put in place audit process guidelines. These include discussing in some detail the broad outline of the audit meeting letter, which should include client details, what the risk is, timeframes, and details of the auditors’ superior officer. Very straight forward.
It is also worthwhile asking what is under review by clarifying the audit scope, and determining how communications need to be conducted, such as, will they be through you as their tax agent? Also, if there are multiple clients, do you need a central point of contact on the client side?
Here are a few snags you could encounter during an audit:
- The ATO contacts your client directly after you told your client that you would deal with the ATO on their behalf.
- Your client is called to their employer’s office to answer questions about their tax issue?
- You told your client that the ATO was looking at rental items and then they chase up a previous year capital gain?
These situations occur more often than not, so how do you reduce the discomfort, manage client expectations and ensure you are providing all the correct information back to the ATO?
Firstly, you need to decide if this is something you should be handling on your own, or is it better to outsource the problem to someone else?
If you determine that you and/or your colleagues are not confident in achieving a successful and timely resolution with the ATO, that the effort and processes are too cumbersome to manage, then employ specialist tax consultants who have the expertise and know-how to handle the case(s).
The last thing you want is to make things worse for your agency or your client, end up in a confrontational situation, or upset your relationship with your client. So, who can you trust to take this burden off your hands? Deayton Tax Consulting – we understand the ATO processes and auditing requirements because we spent many years advising from within the ATO. Our expertise across a range of departments provides peace of mind for you when handing over the case.
We can provide guidance to you at any stage of the audit process, but the sooner you get in touch, means we are better placed to mitigate the main issue.
If you have just been hit with an audit from the ATO and would like to discuss the situation, please drop us an email at [email protected] or contact Miles on +61 401 286 301 for a free 30 minute consultation.