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ATO begins online client linking

Tax

The system aims to reduce the risk of unauthorised access to taxpayers’ online accounts.

By Josh Needs3 minute read

The ATO has announced an online client linking process for taxpayers and agents, moving away from the current process of written authorisation.

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The process will enable a taxpayer to authorise a specified tax agent to link their account and act on their behalf electronically.

Taxpayers will need to complete a nomination of their chosen tax agent, once completed the tax agent will then have four days to add the taxpayer to their client list in the ATO’s online services for agents. 

The online client linking process will be implemented in phases with phase one to commence on 19 June 2022, and is limited to a select number of businesses that are part of the top 100 and top 1,000 public and multinational groups of taxpayers. 

The ATO said it selected this group as they have the smallest turnover of agents, and will allow them to conduct a controlled review of the implementation.

The increasingly sophisticated unauthorised attempts to access taxpayer data and commit refund fraud are the driver behind introducing the change, said the ATO. 

It said that the updated system will ensure that only tax agents who had received a client’s authorisation would be able to access their accounts digitally. 

Tony Greco, general manager technical policy, Institute of Public Accountants said that the increasingly digital age required greater defences against fraudulent activity, such as banks sending verification texts to users to confirm identity.

“We have to accept that in this digital age more controls need to be added to enhance systems to guard against fraudulent activity,” said Mr Greco.

“In today’s age we are already receiving all sorts of text verification checks from service providers such as banks to protect users from identity fraud attempts.”

The ATO said that it will notify the agents with clients in the phase 1 selected group prior to the 19 June start date.

The Institute of Public Accountants said it was glad that the ATO decided to roll it out in phases due to the impacts it will have on businesses with a high client turnover.

“We commend the staged approach as this new initiative can have significant administrative impacts on practitioners dealing with high churn rate in their client portfolio,” said Mr Greco.

The ATO said that after the phase one implementation it will consult with tax professionals to review its performance, and to best plan the roll-out to additional taxpayer groups.

ATO begins online client linking
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Josh Needs

Josh Needs

AUTHOR

Josh Needs is a journalist at Accountants Daily and SMSF Adviser, which are the leading sources of news, strategy, and educational content for professionals in the accounting and SMSF sectors.

Josh studied journalism at the University of NSW and previously wrote news, feature articles and video reviews for Unsealed 4x4, a specialist offroad motoring website. Since joining the Momentum Media Team in 2022, Josh has written for Accountants Daily and SMSF Adviser.

You can email Josh on: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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