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 agent or registered 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 write directly to the taxpayer.
Our correspondence to taxpayers with a registered agent will be directed to the preferred postal address for service of notice, or the postal address 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 correspondence will be sent directly to the taxpayer.
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 write directly to registered agent clients and does not satisfy one of the above exceptions, a brief must be sent to the Assistant Commissioner, Tax Practitioner, Lodgment Strategy and Compliance Support, Practitioner Risk and Consultations, for consideration. If considered necessary, this will be taken to the ATO Tax Practitioner Advisory group (ATPAG) for their review and input.
Advising registered agents when writing directly to their clients
When written correspondence is issued directly to clients of registered agents, the registered agent must be informed at least one week before the letter is sent. The registered agent will need to be informed of:
- the title of the letter
- the purpose of the letter
- the names or types of taxpayers who are receiving the letter
- whether there will be any action required of either the taxpayer or the registered agent
- any timeframes or due dates involved.
Where there are a large number of clients of registered agents involved, information can be published to the Tax professionals segment of ato.gov.au under 'Contacting you or your clients'. This information will then be further communicated in – the: