ATO understaffed at tax time

The CPSU has today warned taxpayers expecting returns they may face delays due to understaffing, and staff are bracing themselves for more complaints as wait times skyrocket. Recent media reports point to a 110% increase in calls to the Australian Tax Office (ATO).

Quotes attributable to Brooke Muscat-Bentley, Deputy National President CPSU:

“We know this Government has cut more than 6,000 jobs in the past few years from the Australian Taxation Office. There are people who've been on casual contracts for years who should have stable ongoing work. There are people in profit driven private call centres doing government tax work who can barely afford to eat and they should have decent ongoing ATO jobs.

“Giving these people secure jobs means tax payers will get their calls answered and their returns done. It’s that simple. At a time our population is growing and people are paying more attention than ever to their tax returns, we can’t expect the ATO to do more work with less staff.

“Members are telling us the calls they are able to answer start with complaints about wait times and people imploring for more staff to be hired.

“The ATO has acknowledged the excellent work our members are doing answering calls, but there simply aren’t enough of them. Instead, when people call, many get a recorded message saying there is a high volume of calls and they should try again later- then the call gets cut off. 50,000 taxpayers aren’t even get the option of waiting on hold; they just get cut off.

“The artificial staffing cap placed on the ATO is failing ordinary Australians. A good government would lift the cap and hire more skilled staff in secure jobs- ensuring that calls get answered promptly and creating employment. It works for everyone.”