In 2015 TAXVINE No 10 (27 March 2015) Member 56 wrote:
“Issue with the ATO – ABR update of SMSF member details. Would love to know if other members are experiencing the same thing.
I am having an ongoing issue with the ATO in relation to adding a member/associate of an SMSF. Instructions followed to update via the ABR – added new member as associate, director of trustee company etc, this was done on the 2 February 2015. This is done because there is no mechanism to just do this directly through the Tax Portal – why not, who would know, but in typical form ‘let’s keep duplicating multiple data entry points’.
Getting a huge amount of problems with the financial planner who is waiting on these details to come up on the member verification tool for outgoing funds to release rollovers. Contacted the ATO 27 February 2015 to ask why the details hadn’t been transferred, told had to wait 28 days. Contacted again on the 19 March to find out why the details still weren’t transferred – no real advice, just submit request over the portal as a mail item under generic ‘If the online process for updating other registration details has not met your requirements.’
Because of the pressure I am now getting from the client (who is threatening to walk and raising issues of my competence) to the financial planner who is contacting me on a daily basis, I have now AGAIN contacted the ATO because the information is plain there to see on the ABR but not on the portal (which is apparently where this information for member verification is taken from).
I was advised today that this data push from the ABR to the ATO is a known issue and has been for a number of weeks and it was previously working but since upgrade is now not. But the agent I spoke to today said that although it is a known issue there is no IT priority dedicated to resolution. I have made a formal complaint about this but who knows what will happen to it, maybe this is a further piece of information that will get pushed to nowhere.
We now have ASIC and the ATO pushing everyone to use digital services but there seems a massive capability issue between what they want and their ability to actually deliver. If there is an issue between transferring data which is known, why is it not fixed? This is an absolutely critical issue in particularly the SMSF space given that the ATO themselves are demanding a reliance upon the information by third parties to release rollovers yet their own internal systems don’t work to facilitate the appointments of new members, notwithstanding that being the protocol that for such action (refer: https://www.ato.gov.au/super/self-managed-super-funds/administering-and-reporting/notify-us-if-there-is-a-change/ Update the details of your SMSF online at the abr.gov.au – through a registered agent (but we can only submit via the ABR anyway because there is no actual facility to accomplish this much more directly through the ATO portal itself).)
So here I sit 6 weeks later wasting many hours of non-chargeable time continuing to follow up something so simple as why has a new member not been added, given that all protocols have been properly followed and it is my livelihood at risk because the client is threatening to leave and the financial planner who referred me this work (among many others) is also threatening to walk and none of it is my fault and there is nothing I can do about it.
Simple fix ATO – allow us to update members/associates and other details directly via the portal!!!”
THE ATO NOW RESPONDS:
“The Australian Taxation Office (ATO) undertook major system changes over the Christmas period which resulted in unexpected delays in the synchronisation between internal systems, including updates to the member verification tool for SMSF. Whilst the synchronising issue was corrected on 5 March 2015, there remain a very small number of cases where this has not occurred. These cases are being investigated.
Where the client of a SMSF is seeking to have contributions released from a super fund and the details are not available for verification, the Superfund can email Super-IER@ato.gov.au and request verification of the associate/s seeking a release of their contributions. The Super fund will need to provide the following details: Member name, member date of birth, name of SMSF and ABN of SMSF.
The ATO is working to resolve these remaining issues as quickly as possible and apologises for the delays and any inconvenience this may have caused.”