#54 - ATO's Debt Process

This week, everything from automation to ACCC to the ATO crossed Paul and David’s desks.

If anything, this episode is a must listen because of Paul’s investigative journalism! He drops an exclusive interview with Rob Ravanello, Deputy Commissioner to get his thoughts on the debt process on the back of the Four Corners episode.

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From The Trenches’ - Real Life in the Accounting Industry presented by Paul Meissner and David Boyar.


ATO's Debt Process

Show Notes


1:16 Best on Ground



“Yes, excessive automation at Tesla was a mistake. To be precise, my mistake. Humans are underrated.”


A stark comment from the pin up boy of automation and AI.



ACCC Has Concerns About The MYOB Reckon Deal – I Have Concerns About the ACCC


Matt Paff's scathing review of ACCCs review into MYOBs acquisition of Rekkon


5:03 Worst on Ground



CA’s lack of response to the Four Corners piece.

‘They only issued a half-hearted blog with no mention of its members in the sector’


Xero’s rapid staff changes, with possibly more to come.

‘What’s going on? They’ve lost three big faces of the organisation’



 Gig Economy Changes Tune as Public Opinion Shifts


I don’t see many people wanting to sell off into the sunset on those sorts of arrangements.


Financial Planning Doesn’t Have Professionals Standards and Needs Reform


‘The accountant vs. financial planner debate has been won”


14:01 5 in 5 Summary:

Paul goes out and gives us the inside word with Rob Ravanello, Deputy Commissioner at the ATO, surrounding the debt process in light of the ongoing scandal. Here’s a summary of what he had to say:


·      The ATO uses analytics to look at client circumstances and lodgement history

·      Don’t let debt escalate – collaborate and engage

·      Utilise the online services and platforms that the ATO offers

·      Understanding of obligations and payment mechanisms is a fundamental focus going forward


27:39 In-Depth Topic:

After all that has been said and done, the boys take a high level view at the ATO scandal and have come up with their key takeaways to date:


·      Could there be more to some of these cases?  

·      In some sense, the ATO chases the debt in the wrong way

·      When dealing with the ATO, there is inconsistency in their approach. Your first answer sometimes doesn’t have to be your final answer!

·      Legal expectations are going up and up. The government are relying on the tax agent and client is less educated



·      The ease of access and low cost of debt creates problems

·      There are angles missed in these stories, specifically roles and responsibility of tax agent in verifying what is reported is accurate and facilitating communication

·      Better outcome no – better management of expectations

·      Could the ATO have managed their client expectations better during the stories?

·      People aren’t engaging with the debt - we can’t use it as the fifth bank