As of November 13, 2023, the ATO has launched the final stage of its client-to-agent linking process. This regulation applies to all entities with an ABN, excluding sole traders, marking the completion of the client-to-agent rollout aimed at safeguarding against identity-related theft and fraud.
Included entities are now required to nominate their agent through the new agent nomination feature on the business portal. While this does not apply to existing clients of registered agents, it will apply to any new engagements for tax, BAS or payroll services or if an additional service is being added to an existing engagement.
Given the number of entities impacted by this change, we have put together the below guide to help navigate it.
What is the client-to-agent linking process?
The client-to-agent linking process is an additional layer of security put in place to protect both agents and clients from identity-related fraud or theft. It requires a client to nominate their agent before the agent can add them to their client list.
Does it apply to you?
The ATO has undergone a phased roll out of the client-to-agent linking process. Various entities were already required to nominate an agent through the online services portal. The final stage of the rollout came into effect on 13 November 2023.
Critically, existing clients will not be affected. The client-to-agent linking process will only apply to new clients or clients who are making changes to their engagement with us, such as adding a new entity to their group.
From 13 November 2023, the affected entities include:
- Most public and multinational businesses (effective from 13 December 2022);
- Businesses in the Top 500 privately-owned wealthy groups, (effective from 13 December 2022);
- Government entities (effective from 24 February 2023); and
- All types of entities with an ABN, excluding sole traders (effective from 13 November 2023).
This final stage of the rollout applies to companies including strata title bodies, partnerships, trusts, not-for-profits, joint ventures, cooperatives, SMSFs and APRA-regulated superannuation funds.
What will you need to do?
Entities can nominate an agent using ATO online services. This will require you to have access to Online services for business. If you do not already have access, follow the below steps:
- Set up your Digital ID (myGovID).
- Link your myGovID to your ABN.
Once you have gained access to Online services for business, follow the below steps to nominate your authorised agent:
- Log into online services for businesses using your myGovID and follow the following steps:
- Select profile, then Agent details
- At the Agent nominations feature, select Add
- On the Nominate agent screen, go Search for agent
- Type your agent’s registered agent number (RAN) or practice name and select Search
- Check that the agent’s details are correct
- Complete the Declaration
- Select Submit
For more details instructions on the above steps, please visit the ATO Client-to-agent linking steps.
Note, clients will need to select the relevant accounts agents can access e.g. income tax, activity statement, payroll etc.
Once nominated, an agent has 28 days to accept the request. Importantly, your agent will not receive a notification upon completion of the nomination. Therefore, it is important to inform them promptly to ensure they can accept the nomination within the acceptance timeframe.
For more information visit the ATO website or contact a member of the Accru team today.