• Primary contact and authorised contacts

    Only primary contacts (including public officers), authorised contacts, registered tax agents, registered BAS agents, temporarily appointed tax professionals and specialist tax advisers can contact us on behalf of an entity.

    See also:

    Primary contact

    A primary contact (previously known as an entity representative) has authority to:

    • access all roles on their client's account
    • add, remove and update the list of authorised contacts.

    The primary contact must be able to establish their identity at contact.

    Different entity types will have different primary contacts. The following table identifies who the primary contact is by entity type.

    Entity type

    Primary contact

    Individuals

    Only that individual

    Company or incorporated association

    Public officer -directors can only access information, and must be listed as authorised contacts.

    Unincorporated association or body of persons (for example, sporting club, social club or trade union)

    Office holder

    The office holder for an unincorporated association or body of persons is a member of the committee of management. For example, someone who occupies the position of:

    • president
    • vice president
    • treasurer
    • secretary.

    Public officer

    A public officer must be appointed if the unincorporated association or body of persons is carrying on a business.

    School (unless operating as a company)

    Principal

    Partnership

    Named partners only

    Trust

    Trustee for the trust

    If the trustee is a company, it is the public officer.

    If the trustee company isn't registered with us, and therefore doesn't have a public officer, it is the director of the trustee company as listed with the Australian Security and Investments Commission (ASIC).

    Superannuation entity

    Trustee for the entity

    If the trustee is a company, it is the public officer.

    Deceased estate

    Executor, executrix or administrator of the deceased estate – authorised tax agents may access information in the interim period until probate is granted.

    Government agency or entity (except schools)

    Chief executive officer

    See also:

    Public officer

    The public officer of a company is the person who we normally deal with in relation to the entity's tax affairs, for example, record keeping and submitting company returns.

    Criteria for being a public officer

    A public officer must be an individual who meets all of the following criteria:

    • 18 years old or over
    • ordinarily resides in Australia
    • understands the nature of the appointment.

    The public officer must be:

    • recorded as the public officer for the entity
    • able to satisfy POI requirements.

    A public officer must be appointed within three months of the entity commencing business or deriving income in Australia. The notification of appointment must include the public officer's name and a contact address.

    Appointing a public officer

    The company’s rules or articles of association determine who can appoint a public officer on behalf of the company. This is a decision to be made by the company. In some cases, the decision may be made by a director or board of directors.

    Notifying us when a public officer is appointed

    For new registrations, an individual who is authorised under the rules or articles of association of the company can notify us when a public officer is appointed.

    For new appointments, or notification of an update to public officer details, an individual must meet all of the following criteria:

    • have been previously identified as the authorised contact for the company
    • be able to satisfy POI requirements
    • be able to provide either a declaration they are authorised
      • by the company’s rules or articles to make the change
      • to provide the information on behalf of the authorised person or persons (including notification of the appointment of a public officer).

    You cannot add or update public officer details with us over the phone.

    For information about other ways to update these details, refer to Update your details.

    Authorised contact

    Primary contacts can authorise contacts to act on their behalf in relation to some or all of the entity's tax affairs.

    They are not able to add, remove or update authorised contacts, unless the authorised contact declares they have been given authority to act on behalf of the entity in this capacity. If the authorised contact does not declare they have been given authority to act on behalf of the entity in this capacity, this authority is restricted to the primary contact.

    However, in the case of a company, a person other than the primary contact may be entitled to access all roles on an account and to add, remove and update the list of other authorised contacts.

    To do so, they must meet the following criteria:

    • be identifiable as the authorised contact for the company
    • able to satisfy POI requirements at contact
    • they must also provide either a declaration they are authorised
      • by the company’s rules or articles to make the change
      • to make changes to the account on behalf of the authorised person (including notification of the appointment of a public officer).

    Criteria for being an authorised contact

    The authorised contact must be:

    • recorded as an authorised contact for the entity
    • able to satisfy POI requirements.

    Examples of authorised contacts include:

    • directors
    • registered tax agents
    • registered BAS agents
    • legal practitioners (includes barristers and solicitors)
    • insolvency practitioners (includes liquidators, company administrators or trustees in bankruptcy)
    • power of attorneys (PAT)
    • debt management firms
    • financial counsellors
    • guardians
    • family members or friends.

    See also:

    Registered agents

    Registered tax agents

    Registered tax agents have authority to access all roles on their clients' accounts. They can also add, remove and update the list of authorised contacts if they have been given authority to act on behalf of the entity in this capacity.

    The registered tax agent is:

    • recorded on the account for the entity
    • able to satisfy POI requirements.

    If the registered tax agent is not recorded on an account, they must both:

    • pass proof of identity for registered agents
    • be able to provide a declaration they have a current signed authority to act on behalf of the taxpayer.

    Registered BAS agents

    A BAS agent's authority to act for the taxpayer is much more restricted than a registered tax agent's authority, and is limited to dealings with us in relation to a BAS provision.

    Registered BAS agents can also add, remove and update the list of authorised contacts, if they have been given authority to act on behalf of the entity in this capacity.

    Temporarily appointed tax professionals or specialist tax advisers

    Registered tax agents or primary contacts may appoint a registered tax professional, such as a public trustee, insolvency professional, sub-contracts auditor, or specialist tax adviser as a short-term authorised contact to assist in, for example, an audit, objection or GST matters.

    Temporarily appointed registered tax professionals and specialist tax advisers are not able to add, remove or update any details contained on the account. They are only able to access information contained on the account they have been given authority to access.

    The following information is required when a registered tax agent or primary contact notifies us of this appointment:

    • name of the contact
    • specific role (or roles) for which they are to be the contact
    • period for which the authority is to extend.

    Notifying us of a temporarily appointed tax professional

    A registered tax agent or primary contact may provide a verbal declaration by phone, in person at one of our shopfronts, or by letter of authorisation, of the temporary appointment of a registered tax professional or specialist tax adviser.

    It's important the original registered tax agent or the primary contact notify us when the authority finishes. This notification can be made by phone or letter.

    Last modified: 12 Jul 2016QC 22292