11 Nov 11 On banks and their demands
MEMBER 206 writes:
"I have become quite concerned at the increasing demands which banks put on clients without the banks really knowing what they are requesting. We see so many requests for 'report from the portal', 'current tax portal' etc. Our clients ask what it is that the banks are requesting. My usual reply is there is plethora of reports available to tax agents which have been designed to assist tax agents to attend to their clients work
On the other hand the bank johnnies don't really know what they are requesting and cannot (or will not) tell the customer just exactly what they are requesting. We all know that these banks are 'miffed' that the ATO periodically has provided interest free terms to taxpayers and we tax agents would be stupid if we did not recommend to our clients that they take advantage of such generosity.
Our experience is that no matter what report one downloads the bank wants something else. It would seem that we tax agents are running around doing the admin work for the 'big end of town' so they can dot the 'i's' and cross the 't's'.
I have always been of the opinion that these reports are private between taxpayer and tax agent. If we as tax agents contacted a bank requesting information about a client we would get the whole Privacy Act defence. We as tax agents not only have the Privacy Act but also the Tax Agent Services Act to deal with in respect of privacy.
My approach now is to ignore the bank requests unless they can specifically request a particular report and then I send it to my client who can decide if they really want to on forward it. Unsurprisingly they usually decide to bin it anyway."