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ATO Online services for agents terms and conditions

Outlines your obligations as a user of ATO Online services for agents and our obligations to you.

Last updated 11 June 2023

Terms of use in Online services for agents

When we say:

  • we, us and our, we mean the Australian Taxation Office (ATO)
  • you and your, we mean you as the user of Online services for agents
  • Online services for agents, we mean this electronic data system that we provide
  • person, we mean an individual, a partnership and anybody whether incorporated or not.

How these terms and conditions apply

These terms and conditions apply to your current use of Online services for agents.

These terms and conditions, your use of online services, and information provided to you through our online services, are governed by the laws in force in the Australian Capital Territory, Australia.

Your obligations as a user of Online services for agents

Your obligations:

1. Access security

When you use a security credential (or password) to access Online services for agents, you must:

  • comply with the terms and conditions that relate to the security credential
  • keep the security credential (or password) secure at all times
  • not disclose the security credential (or password) to, or share it with, others.

You must not access Online services for agents if access has either:

  • not been issued to you
  • been revoked by its issuing authority.

If the security credential issued to you has been compromised, or if there is any change in the information on which the issue of your security credential was based, you must notify the issuing authority immediately.

2. Data security

Data about individuals and entities provided to you through Online services for agents is confidential. You must ensure that unauthorised persons do not have access to that data. You cannot pass on any information to a third party without consent from the person you are currently appointed by. If your computer will be unattended, even briefly, you must log out from Online services for agents or lock your computer.

3. Client verification

You must undertake proof of identity (POI) before providing tax or BAS agent services:

  • to new clients
  • on an ongoing basis to existing clients, as appropriate.

Our minimum requirements

You must apply the ATO’s guidelines for client verification known as the Agent Client Methods. These guidelines outline the practical steps and methods to perform client verification when using ATO systems.

The TPB’s Practice Note TPB(PN) 5/2022External Link provides an overview of what client information you should verify and types of documents you can use to verify their identity.

If you follow the ATO guidelines in conjunction with the requirements prescribed by the TPB, you’re deemed to have met the client verification requirements of both agencies.

These POI requirements for client verification are mandatory from 1 July 2023.

4. Acting for another person

To use Online services for agents to access data relating to, or to carry out a transaction for, another person, you must be currently appointed by that other person to access that data or carry out that transaction on their behalf. That appointment must not have been revoked. You cannot use this system to conduct one-off searches for clients you do not perform other services for.

If your appointment is based on you holding a certain:

  • position (for example, as that other person’s employee or agent for tax purposes), you must currently hold that position
  • qualification (for example, as a registered tax or BAS agent), you must currently hold that qualification and that qualification must not be suspended or cancelled.

5. Employee access

If you are managing access for employees to use Online services for agents, you must ensure:

  • access is restricted to your employees and they are aware of and comply with these terms and conditions
  • proper use of Online services for agents and that employees are aware of their responsibilities when using Online services for agents
  • employees know and adhere to privacy protocols and the need-to-know principles
  • employees understand security protocols and checks. They take all reasonable steps to prevent and detect unlawful and unauthorised use. They immediately notify us if they know or suspect access has been compromised or any other security breach has occurred.

6. Reasonable use

Our digital services (including Online services for agents) are designed and intended for human interaction only.

Reasonable use provides people who use our systems with clear expectations on using them to ensure system performance is consistent and maintained for all users.

You must ensure you do not, agree not to, and agree not to enable others to use:

  • high volume ‘data calls’ on our systems. If sustained, these may degrade our system performance and affect the experience of users.
  • high volume programs which negatively impact other users or the performance of our systems
  • any form of automated or systematic extraction device, program, algorithm or methodology on any or all of the data, including (but is not limited to) the use of
    • 'screen-scrapers', 'bots' or 'spiders'
    • any other type of automated extraction tool not approved by us.

We actively monitor system use and can detect abnormal usage patterns.

Our services offered through Standard Business Reporting (SBR) are intended to be incorporated into software and can enable higher volume transactions.

7. Breach of terms and conditions

If you breach any of these terms and conditions, you must immediately:

  • advise us of that breach
  • stop using Online services for agents until we advise you can.

A breach of reasonable use may result in one or more of the following actions:

  • a direction to change your system usage
  • suspending your access to the service
  • terminating your access to the service.
  • possible investigation.

8. Digital correspondence

By accepting these terms and conditions, you are agreeing to receive correspondence from us electronically.

There may be situations where correspondence is sent to you via multiple channels. This occurs because we need to meet the deemed service provisions contained in the Taxation Administration Regulations 2017 and mandatory service requirements under the Acts Interpretation Act 1901.

9. Responsibility for actions

You will be responsible for (and indemnify us against) any loss or damage to any person arising from any one of the following:

  • any breach by you of these terms and conditions
  • any wilful, negligent or unlawful act or omission by you in relation to, or in the course of using, Online services for agents.

However, your liability to us will be reduced to the extent that any wilful, negligent or unlawful act or omission by us has contributed to that loss or damage.

Your responsibility for activities undertaken by you through Online services for agents (for example, updates you made, and notices, statements, applications and other documents you transmitted to us) will continue despite you ceasing to use Online services for agents or having access to it.

Our obligations

Our obligations:

1. Privacy and secrecy obligations

For information about your privacy, refer to our Privacy policy. We will ensure that Online services for agents complies with privacy laws at all times.

2. Provision of Online services for agents

We can:

  • limit your ability to use Online services for agents
  • terminate your access to Online services for agents at any time
  • work out the times and periods during which Online services for agents transmissions can take place
  • vary the terms and conditions of use of Online services for agents. This means that the terms and conditions applicable when you next use Online services for agents may be different from these terms and conditions
  • review the activities of users of Online services for agents to ensure they are meeting the relevant terms and conditions of use.

3. Online services for agents and linked sites

Online services for agents may not contain all the information that you need. We do not prepare (or necessarily endorse) the information not on our sites, even if linked to our site. We take no responsibility for your use of a site we are not responsible for or the information on it.

4. Information sent via Online services for agents

We are not responsible for:

  • the accuracy, veracity and completeness of material transmitted to us
  • errors in the manner of the input of material transmitted to us
  • any information you may lose as a result of equipment or power failures or our servers terminating your session due to prolonged periods of inactivity.

5. Limited liability

We will not be liable for any direct, indirect, incidental, special, consequential or exemplary damages (including for loss of profits, goodwill, information, data or other intangible losses) resulting from:

  • the use or inability to use Online services for agents
  • unauthorised access or alterations of your transmissions to or from Online services for agents
  • activities resulting from the loss or misuse of your security credential
  • statements or conduct of any third party
  • any other matter relating to Online services for agents.

6. No warranties by us

Except as specified in these terms and conditions, we give no implied or express warranties relating to the use of Online services for agents. All statutory warranties are, to the fullest extent permitted by law, expressly excluded.