In today’s blog, we’ll discuss the client-to-agent linking process to help you know the steps involved in this process. Let’s get started:

What is the Linking Process?

To protect you and your clients against identity-related theft, the ATO is improving the security of their online services. From 13 November 2023, all types of entities with an ABN except sole traders are required to nominate their agents before the agent can add them to their client list.

Introduction to Client-to-Agent Linking

To nominate an agent, businesses can use the ATO’s online services. If you want to nominate an agent, you need to follow these steps. You must do this when you:

  • engage a new BAS agent or tax agent, or payroll services provider that will represent you
  • give additional authorisation to your current authorised agent.

Can You Access to Online Services for Business?

Let’s walk through the quick steps to nominate an agent. If you have access to ATO’s online services, skip to step three, if not, follow step one.

Step one: Set up your digital ID (myGovID)

Download the myGovID app and choose your identity strength:

  • Strong myGovID: verify your Australian passport and either citizenship certificate, birth certificate, medicare card or driver’s licence.
  • Standard myGovID: verify two Australian identity documents.

Step two: Link your myGovID to your ABN

You need to link your myGovID to your ABN using Relationship Authorisation Manager (RAM). If you have a strong myGovID, then log into RA M and follow the prompts.

Step three: Log into online services for business

Use your myGovID to log into online services for business.

Step four: Nominate your authorised agent in online services for business

Enter their registered agent number, complete the declaration and submit.

Step five: Let your agent know you’ve nominated them

They have 28 days to accept and there you have it a stress-free process with five easy steps.

Why the ATO is making this Change?

The ATO wants to strengthen the security of the client-to-agent linking process.

  • Reduce identity theft

Identity fraud can occur to registered agents and taxpayers. Criminals may act as:

  • taxpayers and involve an agent to help them (unknowingly) commit fraud (for instance, they engage the agent to make fraudulent lodgment to get refunds)
  • agents to get access to client information and services available on the ATO’s digital platforms (such as online services for agents).
  • Reduce your workload

The ATO has worked with agents where they or their clients, or both have been trapped by identity crime. In these cases, there was a huge impact on the agent, which took a lot of time to resolve. If the agent or their clients are affected by identity theft, they may have to:

  • re-issue their identity documents and apply for a new myGovID
  • being an agent, you need to contact your client to discuss that they have been trapped by identity fraud and you can manage your client’s next steps
  • inform clients that you have been a victim of identity theft and that the information of the client has been compromised
  • work with the ATO to make corrections to the tax position for each affected client
  • go through security reviews of your practices and IT systems that can involve external contractors
  • speak to relevant law enforcement agencies
  • notify about the data breach to the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner

Now, you know how to establish client-to-agent linking and why the ATO is making this change. If you find it difficult to manage the whole process, you can reach Reliable Melbourne Accountants.
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