ato logo
Search Suggestion:

Agent checklist for client-to-agent linking process

This checklist will assist you to complete the client-to-agent linking process.

Last updated 30 November 2023

Things you need to know

Your client needs to complete the agent nomination process before you can add them to your client list or update your authorisations (for example, before you start representing your client for a new obligation such as income tax or a new entity in their group).

You can assist your client through the nomination process however, you can't ask your client to share their myGovID for you to use or share their log in code with you to complete the nomination process for them.

Before you start the process of adding your client, ensure you:

  • link at the correct account level
  • use the right identifier to add your client for one account or role

This will reduce the likelihood of your client having to complete additional nominations unnecessarily.

Link at the correct account level

Link only at the account level that you’re authorised by your client to represent them for.

If you’re a registered tax agent representing your client for income tax, only add the income tax account using the TFN. You don’t need to add other accounts or roles, except if you're representing them for fringe benefits tax (FBT) to access the FBT agent concession due dates.

If you link to an account that has an existing agent, you'll remove that agent. For example, if you’re representing your client for income tax only and your client also has an existing BAS agent authorised at their activity statement account, you’ll remove that existing BAS agent if you link at the activity statement account.

If you link at an account incorrectly, your client will:

  • need to re-nominate the BAS agent you’ve removed so that BAS agent can re-link to the activity statement account they're authorised for
  • have to re-nominate you so that you can access the correct role

You’ll need to notify your client the reason why they're required to re-nominate an authorised BAS agent and re-nominate you.

If you remove an authorised BAS agent, this could result in the BAS agent missing lodgment deadlines on behalf of the client, for example, frequent occurrences like Single Touch Payroll (STP) reporting or BAS lodgments.

Use the right client identifier to add your client for one account or role

If you’re a tax agent representing your client for income tax, you must add them to your client list using the TFN identifier.

If you add a client with the ABN only, the system won't show the income tax account option to choose.

If you do continue with this and add the activity statement account, then you’ll need to ask your client to complete another nomination to add the income tax account. You may also remove another agent, which will require your client to complete another nomination unnecessarily.

Before adding your client

Follow the steps below before adding your client to your client list:

  1. Undertake your normal onboarding process discussions. When a client nominates you in Online services for business, we accept it as an approved agent client verification method. If your client is unable to access our online services, you'll still need to do a separate proof of identity.
  2. Advise your client that they must nominate you in Online services for business before you can add them to your client list. You can't do the nomination for them.
  3. Provide your client with your registered agent number. This will give them one option when they search for you in Online services for business.
  4. Provide your client with our agent nomination instructions and client-to-agent linking steps, which will assist them to nominate you as their agent.
  5. Advise your client to let you know when they’ve completed the nomination. They can download a PDF copy of the agent nomination confirmation that is provided as part of the nomination process in Online services for business and send it to you. You won't receive an automated system notification that your client has completed the nomination.
  6. Check your client has completed the agent nomination. You can generate the client nominations on-demand report in Online services for agents to see if your client has completed the nomination without waiting for your client to notify you.

After your client has completed the nomination

Follow these steps after your client has completed the nomination:

  1. Ask your client to provide their business TFN, if you're representing them for income tax accounts including FBT. Your client can find this in Online services for business under Business details. Discuss safe ways for them to give you their TFN information, that is, in a phone call (email is not a secure channel).
  2. Add your client to your client list in Online services for agents or your practice software for the account or role type you're authorised to access. You have 28 days from the client nomination to add the client or update your authorisation.
  3. Income tax account – If you're authorised for the income tax account, you must use the business TFN to add the client to your client list. Do not select the activity statement account (this is not necessary, you'll have access to all accounts and roles at the income tax account).
  4. Activity statement account – If you're authorised for the activity statement account and not income tax, then add that account only. You'll have access to STP reporting if your client is registered for PAYGW.
  5. STP reporting authorisation – you need to link to the activity statement – STP reporting level. For this authorisation, as an agent you must use the add payroll only client menu in Online services for agents.
  6. If there's another BAS agent or tax agent authorised to act on behalf of your client, an existing agent link will display against that account. Don't remove another agent unless you're authorised by your client (this includes adding yourself to an account that another authorised agent is linked to).

Support

We’re committed to supporting you and your clients through this change. For more information, see:

 

QC73621