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  • Protocols for contacting you or your clients

    These protocols provide a framework for effective and efficient communication when we make contact with taxpayers who have a registered tax or BAS agent.

    The protocols apply to all correspondence we initiate – however, they do not apply to correspondence initiated by the taxpayer directly.

    Where a taxpayer is represented by a registered agent, the postal address for service is often the registered agent's address. This means that all correspondence sent to the client's address for service goes to the registered agent. However, there are some instances where we will communicate directly with the taxpayer.

    If you represent clients that have a myGov account linked to the ATO, they will receive some communications from us electronically in their myGov Inbox. These communications will be available for you to view in the Client communication list (CCL) in the Tax or BAS agent portals.

    General principle

    Our correspondence to taxpayers with a registered agent will be prioritised for direction to:

    • their myGov Inbox where applicable
    • the preferred postal address for service of notice
    • the correspondence channel as set by preference arrangements in our systems.

    If the address listed is the taxpayer's address, and not the registered agent's address, then postal correspondence will be sent directly to the taxpayer.

    Emails and SMS text messages will be sent to the email address or mobile phone number in our records.

    Situations where we may contact the taxpayer directly, without informing the registered agent, are limited to:

    • education letters for taxpayers
    • marketing and research
    • letter to registered agent has not resulted in action required
    • legal documents required by law to be served personally on a taxpayer, or at the registered office of a company
    • large business taxpayers
    • registered agent has notified preferences for correspondence to be sent to the client
    • no recent evidence of registered agent and client relationship
    • high-risk situations, where the taxpayer is suspected of being seriously non-compliant – for example, the taxpayer is suspected of being involved in fraudulent activities, offshore secrecy havens or tax evasion.

    Where a business area has a requirement to communicate directly with registered agent clients and does not satisfy one of the above exceptions, a brief must be sent to the Assistant Commissioner, Intermediaries and Lodgment, Practitioner Risk and Consultations, for consideration. If considered necessary, this will be taken to the Tax Practitioner Stewardship Group (TPSG) for their review and input.

    Advising registered agents when writing directly to their clients

    When correspondence is issued directly to clients of registered agents and does not satisfy one of the above exceptions, the registered agent must be informed at least one week before the communication is sent, unless the correspondence will be available in the CCL. The registered agent will need to be informed of:

    • the title of the communication
    • its purpose
    • the names or types of taxpayers who are receiving the communication
    • whether there will be any action required of either the taxpayer or the registered agent
    • any timeframes or due dates involved.

    If there are a large number of clients of registered agents involved, an article to clarify any required action or advice may also be published to the Tax professionals newsroom and linked to from the Tax professionals newsletters.

    See also:

    Last modified: 24 Apr 2018QC 26642