ATO Client-Agent Linking EOFY Updates

The ATO client-agent linking process is here to stay, but we are still hoping for refinements to make it simpler, especially for clients who are new to the ATO systems and myGovID.

Is the Client Linked or Not?

We look forward to when the ATO releases automatic notifications for agents a business has nominated!

Once a client has successfully nominated an agent, currently they must tell the agent that their part of the process has been done. The agent then needs to go to the ATO online services to check that the nomination is listed.

Go to Reports and forms > Reports > On demand reports > Client nominations > Request.

The report is available instantly; however, we understand how frustrating it is when a client says they have successfully nominated you, and you go to the online services only to find no nomination from that client.

Unfortunately, we have no way around this! Until the ATO introduces an automatic notification system for agents, it can be a bit hit-and-miss.

It’s not uncommon for the client to add you as an authorised contact for the business instead of as a linked agent. If they tell you they have successfully linked, but you don’t see this listed in your portal, get them to check their RAM and remove you if this is not what you have been engaged to do.

You can set up a client file in GovReports before you are formally linked via the ATO; however, you won’t be able to use any ATO Services functions available in GovReports.

Client-Agent Linking Reminders

  • Not required for individuals or sole trader businesses (yet).
  • The client must complete the process, the agent cannot do any of the process on behalf of the client.
  • Tax agents do not need to remove existing BAS agent links – the “Income tax” authorised account gives you access to all areas of the ATO system, including activity statements. There is no need to tick the “Activity statement” account as well.
  • The “Activity statement” authorised account is explicitly designed for BAS agents to access ATO BAS services for the client. This allows the BAS agent AND tax agent access to the same client.
  • BAS and tax agents still need to verify a new client‘s identity. For individuals and sole traders, you’ll need to follow verification protocols, but for other entities, the client-agent linking satisfies this requirement.
  • The ATO has extended the period during which an agent must activate the link, giving agents four weeks to complete it. This is a great improvement because previously if agents did not link within seven days of the nomination, the clients would have to do it again.

What to do if Another Agent has Removed You

If you still have the authority to act on behalf of a client but have been removed by another agent, unfortunately, the new process must be completed in the same way as for a new client.

The client must go through the same process even if you were previously linked. The good news is that once the client has completed the linking, you can go to your GovReports account and add the client back to your ATO list in a few easy steps.

From your dashboard, select the client. Go to ATO Services > Maintain Authorisation.Tick the account/s to link to, sign the declaration and submit. This will sync with the ATO immediately without needing you to visit the ATO portal. Of course, this only works once you have successfully linked to the client.

Exception Requests

We have heard stories of some clients encountering various issues that prevent or hinder the linking process.

In some circumstances, clients are unable to link to their chosen agent. For example, the authorised contact of a not-for-profit entity has changed, or there are problems with a business owner’s myGovID.

If you cannot lodge on behalf of a client who has engaged you but has been unsuccessful in linking, you’ll need to send a message from your ATO online services for agents portal. Go to Communication > Practice mail > New +.Select View more topics, then General questions/problems/help, and then selectSubmit client agent linking exception request.

In the message, explain the client’s situation and why they cannot link to you, such as issues with myGovID, awaiting updates from the Australian Business Register, or waiting for technical help from the Relationship Authorisation Manager.

Also, list any forms or Small Business Superannuation Clearing House payment instructions you cannot lodge.

If possible, send the exception request well before the due date of lodgements to avoid late penalties. Wait to hear from the ATO about the next steps.

Get Ready for New Clients with GovReports Templates and Letters

Once the new financial year arrives, there is often a flurry of new client activity with individuals and businesses changing agents – or engaging one for the first time.

We’ve included the links and instructions for client-agent linking in the email template automatically generated when you start a new appointment with a client.

Once you are logged in to GovReports, go to My Practice > Templates & Letters > View Templates. Select Authority & Appointment as BAS or Tax Agent and select Start to edit the form.

ATO Services Available Within GovReports

With the end of the year fast approaching, remember that we have some great functions to make your dealings with the ATO more efficient.

  • Check the ATO integrated client account.
  • Maintain authorisations.
  • View associate relationships.
  • Update client details like address or financial institution details.
  • Add authorised contacts.
  • View ATO communications.
  • Check outstanding reports.

For more details on the ATO client-agent linking process, check out our previous blog, Streamline ATO Client-Agent Linking: Easy Steps and Expert Guidance.

GovReports Team

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