The use of the Commissioner’s Remedial Power to expand access to deceased estate information to appointed agents of executors and administrators of estates, has come into effect as of 15 May 2020.
The ATO had previously advised that the application to use the Commissioner’s Remedial Power (CRP) to expand access to a deceased person’s information via a Legislative Instrument might be delayed owing to the change in the Parliamentary sitting schedule.
However, as a result of Parliament sitting in May, the Legislative Instrument came into effect from 15 May 2020.
The ATO says that this means registered tax or BAS agents can now access a deceased person’s information if they are nominated to represent a legal personal representative (LPR) for a deceased estate. This will only be lawful access if the executor or administrator has a grant of probate or letters of administration respectively.
In the relevant subsection of the legislation, the following paragraph has been added:
“or (h) the primary entity is an individual who has died and the covered entity is:
(i) a registered tax agent or BAS agent of an executor or administrator of the primary entity’s estate; or
(ii) a legal practitioner representing an executor or administrator of the primary entity’s estate in relation to the primary entity’s affairs relating to one or more taxation laws.“
Importantly, the ATO says that if an executor or family member requests your assistance with a deceased estate, but does not have a grant of probate or letters of administration, you must not add the deceased person to your client list.
You may still assist them, but you cannot lawfully be an authorised contact on the deceased person’s records in the ATO’s systems.
When you use Online Services for Agents to add a deceased person to your client list, you are required to declare that you are either the LPR, or you have been appointed by the LPR to act on their behalf.