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  • Declarations required – you and your clients

    As allowed by tax law, you can lodge documents electronically on behalf of your clients, and we can pay some refunds by electronic funds transfer (EFT) if authorised by your client.

    There are also administrative safeguards in the legislation that are designed to protect taxpayers and tax agents. For example, taxpayers must sign a declaration before you can transmit their tax return.

    To help you meet these obligations, your software may prevent you from transmitting a form to us unless you've recorded in your system that the required declaration has been completed.

    Depending on your software, the electronic declaration may consist of a number of parts, including:

    Your SBR-enabled software may allow you to print a declaration in the required format.

    Taxpayers and registered agents must still exercise care when preparing returns, and must keep appropriate records for specified periods. The penalties that apply to incorrect statements in paper documents equally apply to statements in electronically transmitted documents.

    Taxpayer declaration

    The taxpayer (your client) must provide you with a written and signed declaration stating that:

    • the information provided to you for the preparation of the document is true and correct
    • you are authorised to give the document to us.

    You must not transmit a document to us before the declaration is made. You and your client can decide how the declaration is given to you. It can be given to you in person, by post or fax. It can also be emailed, providing there is some form of electronic signature.

    Taxpayers must keep the declaration (or copy) for either:

    • five years after the declaration is made
    • two years after the declaration is made, if the taxpayer is an individual with simple tax affairs.

    Taxpayers must retain and produce the declaration (or a copy) if we request to see it within those periods. There is an administrative penalty of 20 penalty units (currently $4,200) for failing to retain or produce the taxpayer declaration appropriately.

    It is an offence to make a false or misleading statement to us. The taxpayer is deemed to have made the statements in any electronic return lodged by you, unless they did not authorise the statement.

    EFT declaration

    We pay refunds electronically to a properly nominated Australian financial institution account, including a third-party account.

    The taxpayer (your client) must complete a written declaration nominating the account and authorising us to pay the refund electronically. The declaration will apply to all income tax payments made by us until a subsequent declaration is provided.

    The reconciliation report shows details of the EFT refunds sent to your trust account.

    Tax agent certificate

    All activity statements, tax returns, FBT returns and several other services and forms lodged electronically on behalf of your clients must contain your tax agent declaration with your electronic signature (this is known as the tax agent certificate).

    You must provide a declaration stating all of the following:

    • the document has been prepared in accordance with the information supplied by the entity (your client)
    • you have received a declaration from the entity stating that the information provided to you is true and correct
    • you are authorised by the entity to give the document to us.

    When you receive the original notice of assessment, you must give your client the original or a copy. They can then see the amount of the tax refund or debt and check whether there are any errors.

    There is no requirement for you to prepare or keep a paper tax return if you have provided an electronic one to us on behalf of your client.

    See also:

    Last modified: 30 May 2019QC 49409