The ATO bites


Dirty f*kin’ f*kers!!!!!!!!!!!

I have a STOOPID little tax debt – my HECS [Higher Education Contribution Scheme] debt [the privilege for gaining a university education]. Being out of the country for 7 years, it’s accumulated interest and is now higher than what it was when I graduated [about 7 grand]! Anyway, a percentage gets taken out of my pay each fortnight, so it’s not a huge deal…

My last employer didn’t take it out [?], so I got an ‘additional’ debt at the end of the last financial year. While a rebate is always nice, it was a meagre three hundred bucks-ish, and I was relieved it wasn’t more… However, it’s due before the end of this month [just the ‘extra’ that wasn’t taken out of my pay – I will still be paying for my education for the next godzillion years!]. Anyway, I’m about to complete my car loan, my rent has tripled in the last couple of months, and have had a few additional expenses of late, so it’s a bit of a pain in the gick, in terms of the timing… So I thought, grand, I’ll still pay it, but if I could increase the percentage taken out of my pay for the next couple or pay it in installments, that’d be swell.

I ring the ATO to see if this is an option. Dealing with government departments is always a joy, so I braced myself and was polite verging on, annoyingly sunny! ‘They’ don’t like it much when you’re nice to ‘them’! Went through all the security questions, all very predictably bureaucratic, yadda yadda. Thinking my situation is an ‘easy basket’ one, I [naively] think this shouldn’t be too problematic. The guy tells me my ‘notice of assessment’ is a ‘separate matter altogether’ to my ‘total debt’ [um, it’s all the same HECS debt, mate, but OK!] and explains my options without an OUNCE of humanity in his demeanour. Fine, he’s just doing his job – in the bureaucratically stone-cold manner required for said job. He says, ‘yes I can arrange an alternative payment method for you.’ Great. I suggest, a hundred a month for the next three. All good. Just about to say, ‘yep, send me the paperwork’ and he says, ‘I should tell you there is standard interest after the due date’. Um, if I’ve not paid anything, I can appreciate [no pun intended!] that – like any outstanding bills. I’m the kind of person that pays my bills IMMEDIATELY, btw, which is why I rang in the first place – to avoid increments/’late fees’. Otherwise I would’ve left it ’til the due date, got a reminder notice and had no one but myself to blame! But, if we’re ‘making an alternative payment method’, then, why the interest? It’s an amended agreement surely? AND, it’s three hundred bucks! I’m SURE there’s tax evaders [Gee, I dunno, politicians/off-shore investors, perhaps?!] out there with much bigger debts [er, tax crimes?] and they want to charge me interest on a hundred bucks each month?! I don’t believe in paying interest on such a small amount – even though it won’t amount to much – that’s not the point. I bought a cheap car, and didn’t want it to end up costing me more than its worth, so have made sure I pay off a four-year loan into one. But interest on a student debt just blows…

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Where’s the relativity in this? Or am I just getting all ‘what about the little guys’ on myself…

F’kers…