Institute of Certified Bookkeepers

ATO analytics models assess taxpayers as they enter into debt and determine the most appropriate action to be taken to recover the debt. This means that each taxpayer will have a different payment experience. ATO analytics models will apply a range of criteria to determine which cases will be selected to be referred to an External Collection Agency (ECA). Cases that are not referred to an ECA have collection action undertaken by the ATO.

External Collection Agency (ECA) Referral Procedure.

  • The ATO will send a letter to the client after 7 days of the payment becoming overdue.
  • The ATO then allows 14 days for the client to provide a response.
  • Some clients will only receive one letter from the ATO before their case is referred.

If no response, there will be 3–5 days for any processing delays until the debt is referred.

The ECA will issue a minimum of 3 letters in pursuit of a debt over a 90 day referral period.

The first letter is issued within 1–4 days following referral of the case.

4 days following the issue of a first demand letter they will call the taxpayer contact. (Given postal timeframes of 1–4 days, it is possible for a phone call to occur on the same day as a letter is delivered.)

ECAs will make multiple calls in order to make contact with the right party; e.g. attempt to contact the taxpayer or representative via all listed numbers. Tax Agents are contacted first (where listed) and are granted 48 hours to return a call to the ECA. Following this time, a call will be made directly to the taxpayer.

In the event of no successful outcome within 90 days; e.g. no payment made, the case will be returned to the ATO for firmer action. Further information on these stronger actions can be found at

  • Updated: 26th April, 2018