Independent Member for Clark, Andrew Wilkie, discussed the concerns of tax agents and tax payers who have been issued notices of debts in a move eerily similar to the Centrelink Robodebt scandal.
“The Australian Taxation Office (ATO) has recently issued tax agents and tax payers across the country with notices about the collection of clients’ historic debts without any explanation or evidence of how the debt was raised, what the debt relates to or how old the debt is,” Mr Wilkie said.
“Tax agents tell me the notices are often at odds with their clients’ MyGov records and that accessing any further information is virtually impossible. What’s more, some of the debts are for as little as five cents, date back decades, and are even directed to deceased taxpayers or defunct businesses. At a busy time of year this has created extra work for tax agents who need to notify their clients of this, as well as distress for their clients who are receiving alarming notifications of debts that in many cases they didn’t know they owed, with no explanation from the ATO of how they were raised.
“A government agency issuing debt notices without any explanation and expecting unquestioning compliance sounds suspiciously familiar. The Prime Minister and Treasurer have torn strips off Scott Morrison and Stuart Robert over the Robodebt scandal, but this is starting to look like a debt scandal all of their own.
“I was one of the first MPs to call out the Government for Robodebt way back in 2016. Alarmingly I see evidence of history repeating itself.”