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Reactivating inactive client records

Information about inactive clients and the circumstances in which we will reactivate a client record.

Last updated 2 July 2020

Inactive clients are clients who no longer need a tax file number (TFN) or other ATO-issued identifier. Individual and non-individual clients can be identified as inactive and have their record secured.

Individual clients are usually identified as inactive when either they:

  • are deceased
  • have departed the country and their visa has expired.

Non-individual clients are usually identified as inactive when either they:

  • are deregistered
  • are wound up
  • have ceased business.

Internal and external information is available to identify a client as inactive. Data may be included from other government agencies, departments, clients or their representatives. For example, the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) website can be accessed. This is to confirm the ASIC registration status of a company client.

When a client has been identified as inactive, a treatment is applied to the client record to secure it and prevent improper or fraudulent use. This treatment prevents online interactions with the affected client record.

Reactivating an inactive client record

Inactive client records are able to be reactivated for a range of reasons, including:

  • client has returned from overseas and needs their TFN to interact with  
    • us
    • other government agencies
    • financial institutions
    • educational institutions
    • to apply for an Australian business number (ABN)
  • to process a departing Australia superannuation payment (DASP)
  • non-individual entity has resumed operations
  • final tax return of a departed person needs to be lodged and processed
  • final tax return of a deceased person – where the date of death tax return is to be lodged and processed. Note: Only authorised Legal personal representatives can access a deceased person’s information. See Accessing a deceased person's information.

If your client has an inactive client record, you can phone us on 13 72 86 Fast Key Code 1 1 3 and request reactivation.

To reactivate your client's account, you will need to:

  • sight documents that authenticate your client's identity
  • reactivate the record
  • transact electronically on behalf of your client.

Once a company is deregistered, it ceases to exist. This means you can't update the company’s records with us or lodge tax forms on behalf of the company. Lodgments received after the date of deregistration are invalid and will be cancelled. We can't disclose confidential information about the company to you or other formerly authorised contacts. Your clients can apply to ASIC to have the company reinstated. If ASIC approves the reinstatement, tax forms can be lodged and processed.

See also:

Client record validation

When a record is reactivated, we may take further action to confirm and validate details by checking your client’s personal information. This may include:

  • sources and amounts of income claimed
  • employer and employee records to confirm no fraudulent activity has occurred
  • Department of Home Affairs records to confirm that they are in Australia
  • births, deaths and marriages registries records for current details and identity confirmation
  • compliance history.