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25 Jul 14 And, more on (TFN) privacy

MEMBER 92 writes: 

"I am writing to raise a matter that I have discussed with the ATO for a number of years now. 

The ATO constantly reminds tax agents of their obligations concerning privacy and protecting the identities of our clients.

Against this is the constant flow of documents from the ATO including assessments, PAYG instalment notices and other correspondence which discloses in the same location the taxpayers full name and tax file number.

Given access to people’s other details such as date of birth on sites such as Facebook or even ASIC, the chances of fraud are heightened. There are millions of these letters issued annually. 

I have asked the ATO to consider a system whereby written correspondence removes or hides the first 6 digits of the TFN (similar to a credit card payment receipt) thereby making it virtually impossible to guess the number. Given we tax agents have the data in our systems, we can readily determine who the client is even if we have, say, ten John Smiths as clients."