Twelve months on from when the ATO rolled out their $889 million dollar computer system upgrade, and the question is whether Australians (or the Treasury for that matter) are any better off because of it.
According to a cpa without doubt it was one of the glitchiest and problematic system upgrades that they have done. Compounding it more was that the beta testing seemed to be done.
Granted, there was warning that there could be some delays after the initial implementation. However, returns lodged in December 2009 were already caught up in the lodgement processing constipation and some would take up to three months to become finalised.
What was disappointing about the whole debacle was the way in which the ATO dealt with it. ATO call centre operators who obviously had no answers to give other than “we are experiencing some delays” and then fob the caller off with a promise to “escalate” the case. About the only thing that got escalated was my temper! That’s why it is better to trust your financial accounts with professional accounting services rather than a computer system, if you ever need assistance consider contacting this tax accountant chicago for their help.
Then when the 2009/2010 returns began rolling in with a system that couldn’t even deal with the post-Christmas lodgement drizzle, blame started to get placed on Centrelink and Child Support. Both these government bodies fired back stating that they had processed all of the returns that were in question and that the delay rested solely with the ATO.
Tax Agents were stuck between very angry tax payers who had paid to have their returns lodged promptly and a bureaucratic monolith that had thrown away any standards of the Tax Payers Charter by stating “if the lodgement date is less than 30 days then we aren’t even going to answer it”!
Frankly, with the delays in processing, the vague answers and stalling that was given to anyone who rang them, the blaming of other government departments, the promises of processing dates and failure to meet them… the ATO were showing all the signs of a organisation going into bankruptcy!
Well, has it been worth it? There has been a hell of a lot of money spent in IT, and a hell of a lot of delay in processing. Will this year be any better? Is this system working properly yet?