ATO Debt Referred to Debt Collector

Hi all, I'm in a bit of a pickle and am wondering if anyone has been in a similar boat.
I have some debt with the ATO that I stupidly had waited too long to deal with and it has now been passed onto a debt collection agency (Probe Group).

I would much rather just settle this debt via the ATO and I want to avoid dealing with the agency.
It looks like I can still setup my repayment plan on my online ATO account.
I'm wondering if I can just proceed to repay the ATO directly, or is it too late?

Any advice would be much appreciated!

Related Stores

Australian Government - Australian Taxation Office
Australian Government - Australian Taxation Office


  • +6 votes

    …call the ATO and ask?

  • +3 votes

    I think just setup the repayment plan and tell the debt collector that you are already in an agreement with ATO to pay the debt. Nothing to lose, worst case ATO will just cancel the repayment plan and you'll have to deal with the debt collectors

  • +2 votes

    Yeah I was in a similar situation couple of years ago over AGL bills. On first call debt collector politely asked if I want to talk about it and I said no because that payment is being made already. I paid the bill directly to AGL and never heard from DC again.

  • +1 vote

    The payment slip attached to the bottom of the Probe Group letter should be the standard ATO payment slip so the payment goes straight to ATO.

  • +1 vote

    Used to work for the ATO. You can just pay it, it's a negative balance sitting on the account.
    You can set up a payment plan which will stop additional fees.

    Another tip, if you're expecting a refund from your 2018 tax return then it'll be absorbed by the debt. So that can be a way to repay. (Obviously if you're expecting a debt you can put it off until the end of October)

  • +1 vote

    I thought once a debt recovery firm had taken over the debt they'd effectively purchased the debt and it had to be paid to them?

  • -1 vote

    Do you have a tax agent? They will be able to set up the payment plan with the ATO for you.

    If not, then call the ATO and set up a payment plan.

    Also, make sure you're not late on your 2019 return. You will most likely have a due date of 31st October 2019 even if using a tax agent :)


    I got one of those too even though i had been paying most of my gst in advance still got hit with penalties and interest. i just submitted all the overdue bas paid it all off when i got the warning letter it would be handed over to a deb collector. then a few days later it was all up to date i called up the 1300 on the letter pleaded with them on medical grounds and they remitted all the penalties except the $523 + interest charged. I even earned only a couple dollars interest as i had paid most of it in advance but dont think i earned the 8.99% + rate they charged me. not sure how they work it all out ? i was told it doesnt count even though i paid most of it advance as i hadnt lodged the bas on time. op best call ato debt dept for advice and plead mercy with them.

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