When GST was introduced at the turn of the century and provisional tax was abolished (only to be replaced by an even more misunderstood PAYG tax) the Tax Department introduced a new concept of a Running Balance Account which is reported to taxpayers using the odd title of “Integrated Client Account”.

Without sending out bills the ATO regularly send off letters to taxpayers stating that “we note with concern that the amount of $x is outstanding on the above account and interest is accruing at the rate of y %.”

(Incidentally this rate is a compound daily rate which is almost impossible to check for arithmetic errors.)

Everyone knows that “integration” involves putting together in one bundle a few things that have previously been separate and apart.

This integration has not happened and it is possible to have a debit on one’s income tax account and a credit, matching it, on the so called integrated account and the two are being maintained in different accounts in different offices of the Tax Office.

If you are in business or if you have investments and have been taxed by instalments, be prepared to receive from the Tax Office a totally useless piece of paper giving you information about your integrated account that will be double Dutch.

When you get one of these send it to the Treasurer and ask him what it means.