The questions start coming

phone concern light

Surviving an ATO audit: Part two

An ATO audit begins as a fact finding mission. Although the ATO has access to a lot of government systems, all they see are data and numbers. They may therefore ask you for more information or documents to clarify your client’s situation.

When you receive an ATO request, consider whether it is clear what the ATO wants. In my experience as an ATO Audit Director, the responses the ATO receive are either not what the ATO expects (although the adviser believes they have answered the questions) or not detailed enough, as the ATO questions may have been too generic or not specific to the issues at hand.

Spending time to discuss the request with the ATO at the outset will save your client time and money in the long run.

Achieve a positive outcome for your client

A client recently received an ATO request for voluminous documents. I contacted the ATO on behalf of my client for clarification of their request. From this conversation I was able to identify two central ATO concerns. In response, we provided a handful of documents supporting the client’s contention. The result was a quick and low cost ATO audit in favour of the client, without having to provide the ample material originally requested.

What you should do: Open the lines of communication

As outlined in our first post of this series (you can read it here), the key is to be an active part of the review process. Call the ATO officer and talk to them about their request. Open conversation allows you to elicit more background information and the ATO officer’s thought process.

To provide your clients with a less stressful audit experience, discover what the ATO really wants – beyond your initial perceptions – and get to the heart of the issue – not just what the ATO has presented.


What’s next?

Surviving an ATO audit: Part three – Round 1 ends, the review finishes

Back to Articles

Recent Articles

I’ll always be here for you dad!
Video | Fulfilling advisers’ Best Interests Duties

In this 5 minute video, Ian Tindale breaks down the steps financial advisers are required to take in regards to their clients’ Estate Planning in order to fulfil their Best Interests Duty.

Read more
Video | From business start-up to exit: Key decisions and the tax implications

This webinar uses a case study to highlight some of the key decisions throughout the lifecycle of a business, considering the variables from a tax and commercial perspective.

Read more
Fighting the Groundhog Day Blues

For many business owners and advisers, the first quarter of the new year can often feel like Groundhog Day – same challenges, same goals, same issues and same plan as every other year. Let’s not sap our energy trying to get amped about the same-old same-old.

Read more