The ATO says it has identified some tax agents (both registered and unregistered with the Tax Practitioners Board) who have been using their client’s personal login details to access that client’s ATO Online account myTax through myGov.
The tax agents concerned then lodge tax returns on behalf of their clients. The ATO warns that myTax is not an approved lodgment channel for registered agents, and is actually a breach of the ATO’s terms and conditions for its online services.
It says it will be closely monitoring returns, plus utilising all of its data matching and collection tools, in an effort to identify what it has labelled as “suspicious patterns of behaviour” with lodgements this tax time. In particular, it says it will seek to identify transactions made via myTax that originate with a tax agent.
The ATO says that agents should only use Online services for agents to manage their client’s tax affairs. Furthermore it says tax agents may risk referral to the Tax Practitioners Board if they are discovered using myGov to lodge on behalf of their clients, or without their clients’ knowledge.
Client communications via myGov
If a tax agent’s clients have an existing myGov account linked to the ATO, or they create a new one, the ATO will direct some communications to their myGov Inbox. However it should be noted that an agent can still view those communications, including notices of assessment, via the Communication history in Online services for agents, as well as the Client communication list function in the tax and BAS agent portals.
If your clients are employees whose employer reports through Single Touch Payroll, they will be able to access their income statements (previously known as payment summaries) in the ATO’s online services through myGov.
It advises agents to let their clients know that if they don’t already have a myGov account, they do not need one to lodge their tax return. Tax agents can access a client’s employment data and lodge for them once their information is “tax ready”. There is no need for a tax agent to access their client’s myGov accounts directly.