Before you lodge using ELS
What you must do
If you are lodging a tax return, activity statement or other approved form on behalf of a client via the ELS, you must:
- obtain a declaration from your client authorising you to lodge their return and declaring that the information they have provided to you is true and correct – for example, part A of the ELS declaration – before you lodge it
- ensure you complete the tax agent certificate before lodging your client's return via the ELS if you use shared facilities, that is if you prepared the return but another tax agent lodges it on your behalf
- give your client a copy, or the original, of the notice of assessment if their address for service of notice is your address.
If you lodge tax returns or other approved forms via the ELS, you do not have to sign a paper declaration. This is because you have been deemed to have electronically made the declaration by lodging via the ELS.
Records clients need to keep
Your client must keep:
- the declaration for five years from the date they make the declaration, or two years if they meet the requirements of the shortened document retention periods (individuals with simple tax affairs) Determination 2006 – this requirement also applies to requests for amendments
- their payment summaries for five years from the end of the financial year, or two years if they meet the requirement of the Shortened document retention periods (individuals with simple tax affairs) Determination 2006
- their receipts for five years from the date that you lodged their return or, if they are in a dispute with us, for five years or until the dispute is resolved, whichever is the later.
Your clients must provide these documents to us if we ask for them.
Where a refund is estimated for most types of tax return, you need to provide Australian financial institution account details.
For this to happen, your client must complete a written declaration nominating the account and authorising us to transfer the refund electronically – part B of the declaration form.
Prevent processing delays
If returns are incomplete, incorrect, need checking or relate to a prior year, they may take longer to process. You cannot electronically lodge returns with invalid or missing tax file numbers (TFN).
You must obtain a declaration from your client, complete the tax agent certificate and provide your client with a copy of their notice of assessment. Your client must complete and keep a declaration along with payment summaries and receipts. If your clients would like an electronic refund, they'll need to complete the declaration form and provide their account details. Returns can be delayed for a number of reasons, including if we need to cross check data, if the client has a debt or insolvency obligation with us, or if the return is incomplete.