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Is ACT Revenue committing Land Tax fraud?

By sil - 6 September 2008 9

I’m a new home owner and towards the end of July I received my first Rates Notice from ACT Revenue along with a Land Tax Notice. Now, I don’t have to pay Land Tax so I tried contacting ACT Revenue via the numbers on the Notice.

After two days trying I eventually got someone via a number off their website instead. I was told that an upgrade in May caused a “computer error” and my records indicate that I don’t have to pay Land Tax. I was advised to disregard the Notice and that it won’t happen again.

Well now I get another notice for not paying the previous notice, including interest! Once again I tried calling and it wasn’t until the second day that I reached someone who then gave me the exact same excuse I was given previously.

Turns out I’m not the only one either to be receiving these Land Tax Notices by “mistake”. I know of others who have had the same treatment from ACT Revenue. It doesn’t look like anything is being done about this “computer error” and there is nothing about it on their website to help people. Just how many people have these false notices gone out to? Even more concerning is how many people just went ahead and paid it anyway!? Double check your own account to see if you really are meant to be paying it or not.

If the ACT Revenue is raking in money from people via these false Land Tax Notices it seems to me they are obtained money by deception. In other words they are committing fraud, plain and simple. For people who have paid they should not only be refunded immediately but also including interest at the same rate they are charging everyone else: 15.75%.

While the revenue staff may reassure you over the phone that the computer error has been fixed and that no more notices will be sent out this is clearly not the case. Some computer somewhere still thinks I and others are required to pay it. So what happens if we follow the advice of ACT Revenue staff and disregard it? Will debt collectors show up one day and cause trouble? Will credit histories be ruined? It’s also worrying that ACT Revenue staff refused to send me anything in writing that states my account is not liable for Land Tax so what tangible proof have I got to protect myself? None at all.

ACT Revenue, this is NOT good enough. If there really ever was a computer error it was your responsibility to ensure it was fixed and steps taken to repair damages and ensure it does not occur in future. You need to:

  • provide information about this on your website,
  • send letters to who have been affected so they have written proof against any future action your fraud may cause to innocent tax payers and
  • refund with interest (at 15.75%) anyone who paid when they were not required to.

So far my enquiries with the minister regarding this issue have had no response.

People, check your accounts and don’t let this corrupt department know they can not pull one over on the public.

What’s Your opinion?


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9 Responses to
Is ACT Revenue committing Land Tax fraud?
Blondcat 3:36 pm 09 Jun 09

This is not the first time suggestions have been made that the ACT Revenue Office is committing fraud. The following link from the Canberra Times from 10 March 2006 concerns in part allegations put to senior ACT Government employees that there were problem amounting to possible fraud in the Rates and Land Taxes area of the Revenue Office.

http://www.canberratimes.com.au/news/local/news/general/10m-fraud-allegation-aired-during-mans-trial/168309.aspx?storypage=1

Yes AG, the Angel Marina on the web site is the former Raiders player and the same Angel Marina mentioned in the Canberra Times article as “not cooperating with……..attempts to gain access to the rating system database”.

Good to see that ACT Treasury is as efficient as ever!!!

jakez 1:39 pm 08 Sep 08

bd84 said :

Ironic that the website is down.. but then I know they’re doing maintenance on the servers.

I fail to see how making the complaint on here is going to fix your problem. The Revenue Office has a physical office on London Circuit, go in and speak to them in person to rectify your problem or speak to a manager instead of the assistant answering the phone!

Well firstly I think the original poster believes that this is a common problem that potential victims may not be aware of. Secondly, putting the issue in the public sphere is an effective strategy for inciting action. Thirdly, it’s good to know that this is happening simply as a check on the activities of Government.

AG Canberra 9:22 am 08 Sep 08

Is that Angel Marina the former Raiders player?

G-Fresh 5:18 pm 07 Sep 08

Caveat emptor

OzChick 5:18 pm 07 Sep 08

^ Good idea, the manager of Revenue Accounts is Angel Marina, as stated on their website.

http://www.treasury.act.gov.au/about/organisation/revenue.shtml

bd84 10:41 pm 06 Sep 08

Ironic that the website is down.. but then I know they’re doing maintenance on the servers.

I fail to see how making the complaint on here is going to fix your problem. The Revenue Office has a physical office on London Circuit, go in and speak to them in person to rectify your problem or speak to a manager instead of the assistant answering the phone!

PantsMan 10:09 pm 06 Sep 08

This report provides a useful insight into the ACT Revenue Office: http://www.ombudsman.act.gov.au/act/publish.nsf/AttachmentsByTitle/investigationreport_treasury_012007/$FILE/act_treasury_report_012007.pdf

They are upgrading their computer system, but it’s probably another “ACT Government special”.

Woody Mann-Caruso 7:52 pm 06 Sep 08

ATO did the same thing to me once.

“Pay us provisional tax.”
“Erm, no. You have made a mistake. Fix it.”
“How silly of us. Here’s a revised notice. You no longer have to pay us provisional tax, although you still owe us that other lot of provisional tax we wrote to you about last month, plus interest.”
Repeat twice. Seriously.

cranky 6:42 pm 06 Sep 08

Quite apart from the imposition of this charge when patently wrong, the ‘interest’ rate charged on outstanding fees is blatant usury.

Where were our fine upstanding Liberal Opposition when this rate, which is a fine rather than a fee, was introduced.

How does this sort of penalty get decided?

Where does one appeal the imposition of this fee on a fee.

Coupled with the incorrect billing of property owners, I can only agree that this is theft by the Government.

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