We’re further strengthening the security of our online services to help protect you and your clients against fraud and identity-related theft.
From 13 November 2023, the client-to-agent linking process will apply to all types of entities with an ABN excluding sole traders.
Entities included in the process will need to nominate you as their agent before you can add them to your client list. They will need to use the new agent nomination feature in Online services for business when they:
After your client completes the agent nomination, you’ll have 7 calendar days to add them to your client list in Online services for agents or your practice software.
From 13 November, we’ll be extending this period, from 7 calendar days to 28 calendar days. This is a result of agent feedback through consultation.
You won’t get an automated notification advising you that your client has completed the nomination. So, make sure you tell your client to let you know.
You can generate the Client nominations on demand report in Online services for agents. This report provides a real-time view of nominations that have been completed by your clients (including the expiry date of the nomination) that can be added to your client list.
Existing client links are not affected. You do not need to do anything if your client doesn’t change their existing arrangements.
The following businesses and organisations are currently included in the rollout or soon will be:
As we roll out each phase, we’ll update this list. The process does not currently apply to individual taxpayers or sole traders.
We need to strengthen the security of the client-to-agent linking process so all parties – including you, your clients and the ATO – can have confidence the client has authorised you to:
This will help us to defend against increasingly sophisticated criminal attempts to defraud the system.
Identity theft and fraud can occur to taxpayers and registered agents. Criminals may pose as:
We’ve worked with agents where they or their clients, or both, have been the victim of identity crime. In these instances, there was a significant and disruptive impact on the agent, which took extensive time to resolve.
If you or your clients are affected by identity crime, you may have to:
To counter the increased risk, we’re strengthening our front-end controls to:
This is part of a broader program of work to strengthen the security of our systems and data. It complements enhanced security measures such as client verification practices and Relationship Authorisation Manager (RAM).
We recognise this security enhancement will change your processes when engaging a new client who needs to interact with us. We’ve provided support information to assist with this change. We understand that this may add some time and effort to the client-to-agent linking process. However, this is necessary to balance the greater need for security in today’s environment.
We’ll work with you to make improvements to the process where we can, based on your feedback.
We ran a successful pilot for this new process in mid-2022. From December 2022 we’ve progressively expanded the new process, starting with most large businesses and some private groups.
We’re consulting with agents, industry representatives and businesses to ensure we take taxpayer and agent needs into account as we put this process in place. We’ll seek input about what support information you and your clients need.
We’ll provide communication on timing for further rollouts in advance of any changes.
Businesses and organisations in each phase will see the new Agent nomination feature in Online services for business when we apply this change to them. To see this feature, select Profile then Agent details.
If your client is included in the process and you try to add them in Online services for agents or your practice software without them completing the nomination, you’ll receive an error message.
When you take on a new client or change authorisations for an existing client, follow these steps:
Your client can extend the nomination if you’re unable to complete the linking step before the nomination expires.
It’s important when onboarding a new client that you’re linked at the right level, depending on the needs of your client.
For example, some clients have a:
If you link at the wrong level or to levels that result in a duplication of access, you may remove a currently-linked agent. If that happens, your client will need to re-nominate the other agent before they can re-link.
If you’re a tax or BAS agent with only STP reporting authorisation, you need to link to the Activity statement – STP reporting level. For this authorisation, agents must use the add payroll only client menu in Online services for agents.
Once a client has been added to this process, they must complete the agent nomination first before you can link the client in Online services for agents or your practice software.
If you try to link to a client in online services and you receive an error message, check that your client has completed the agent nomination.
The nomination is valid for 7 calendar days. You’ll receive an error message if you try to link beyond that time and you’ll need to ask the client to complete the nomination again.
What your clients need to do to complete the agent nomination process will depend on whether they’re:
You can’t complete the agent nomination process on behalf of your client. However, you can help them understand what to do using these linking steps.
Many businesses and organisations are already set up to use our online services. If your client is already set up, the agent nomination process only involves 3 steps. The client will need to:
You can now use the client-to-agent linking process, where your client completes the agent nomination through our online services, as one of the approved client verification methods.
If your client is not yet set up to use our online services but they already have a myGovID, or are able to get one, they’ll need to do these 3 steps first:
Once they are set up, they can complete the nomination in their online services.
If your client isn’t already set up to use Online services for business, we have detailed information available at Online services – business to help them get started.
If your client needs more support, they can speak with a customer service representative on 13 28 66 and we’ll help them through the process.
We know there may be clients who can’t get a myGovID or whose business doesn’t have an ABN. For those exceptions, your clients can speak with a customer service representative on 13 28 66 and we’ll help them through the process.
We’re committed to supporting agents and clients through this change. For more information, see: