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THE ATO RESPONDS to the feedback from Member 106 in last week's edition of TAXVINE - see 2014 TAXVINE No 27 (1 August 2014) - which Member 106 recounted a call from Dun & Bradstreet about a taxpayer who had not been Member 106's client for 15 years: 

"The ATO and external debt collection agencies establish proof of identity for a client and tax agent when the tax agent or their staff answer a call and identify the practice by name. In this case, the agent’s details were listed as an authorised contact, so the client’s privacy has not been breached. 

To avoid unwanted contacts, Tax Agents can review their client lists regularly from either the tax agent portal or ELS. When a Tax Agent is no longer representing a Taxpayer, they can add or delete contact details via the Tax Agent Portal or ELS to ensure they are not contacted unnecessarily. This will also ensure that Tax Agent client lists are up to date and old clients will not count towards the lodgment program. Tax agents should be mindful that they will also need to update contact details with the Australian Business Register.

In this instance the Tax Agent was telephoned as he was the listed contact on the ATO client records at the time of the call. As a result of the call the Tax Agent has been removed from the listed contacts.

We apologise for any inconvenience this may have caused."