The Australian Taxation Office has accidentally issued some Australians false tax debts to the tune of over a thousand dollars after an IT problem triggered erroneous automated letters.
According to the The Guardian, some taxpayers had received false letters with the title ‘You have an overdue tax debt’ stating that they owed the ATO unpaid interest charges.
The debt notices, some which apparently dated back five years, asked recipients to pay debts back within two weeks.
But ATO staff have advised taxpayers who received these false letters need not pay, and to ignore any automated letters or calls that might be sent in the future.
“We are resolving this as a priority and are in the process of remediating the affected clients’ accounts,” a spokeswoman told Yahoo Finance.
“The ATO will work with affected clients as appropriate and will ensure that no collection action will be taken on these accounts.”
If you’ve been hit with one of these erroneous letters, no further action needs to be taken: the ATO will not charge you for this wrongful debt, and accounts will be amended to reflect the correct balance.
“We apologise for any inconvenience or concern this has caused,” the tax office spokesperson said.
Taxpayers who are still concerned about their statements can call the ATO on 13 28 66.
This issue first arose in January when a change to the system used to process activity statements caused general interest charges to be wrongfully applied to taxpayers’ accounts.
It’s not the first time the ATO has suffered from technical problems. During tax season last year, Australians eager to receive their tax refund were left fuming after the myGov portal crashed.
Some of our services (incl. the portals & our online services via myGov) are currently unavailable or experiencing slowness. We're working on the issue & apologise for the inconvenience. Stay tuned for updates. pic.twitter.com/oTQNDfC6WP— ato.gov.au (@ato_gov_au) July 12, 2019
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