Client – agent linking process

The Australian Taxation Office (ATO) introduced the roll out of the client-agent linking process in June 2022 as a security measure to enhance taxpayers’ protection against fraud and identity theft. This involves nominating a BAS agent, tax agent or payroll service before representation and access to the client’s information. As of 13 November 2023, all types of entities with an ABN (excluding sole traders and individual taxpayers) are required to follow this process.

Having been in practise now for almost two years, it has become apparent that there are some issues the ATO must address regarding client-agent linking.

In response to the ATO’s post-implementation review of this process, Chartered Accountants ANZ (CAANZ) expressed concerns to the ATO stating its financial impact on accounting practices and hindrance to serving new clients.

They compiled member complaints highlighting issues such as complexity, lack of clarity, and technical glitches. Additional concerns include but are not limited to:

  • Smaller practices face difficulties assisting clients through the process due to resource constraints.
  • Clients may perceive tax agents as incompetent if they cannot navigate the system, leading to some retaining existing agents instead of engaging alternative services.
  • There is a need for alternative ways for clients to nominate an agent if they cannot or decline to register for a myGovID.

The process involves multiple steps, such obtaining a myGovID, registering for Online Services for Business, and updating ABR information, often resulting in errors like linking the wrong identifiers.

They raised the issue of the inadequate support from the ATO, emphasising the need for responsive support channels and trained staff to address linking issues promptly.

The CAANZ urged for simplification, user-friendliness, and clearer protocols to reduce errors. Overall, there is a call for streamlining processes, addressing technical issues, and enhancing support mechanisms to improve the client-agent experience.

If you require further information or require assistance with the client-agent linking process, please do not hesitate to contact our team of advisors at Accru Felsers.

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