The ATO has revealed it is currently closed testing a small group of accountants and tax agents in relation to systems or services that would enable access to client data collected from its transfer balance account report (TBAR) regime.
“We are very mindful of this and looking to implement that in the future so that advisers have access where their client has authorised for them to see that information,” ATO SMSF segment assistant commissioner Kasey Macfarlane said during a panel discussion at the SMSF Association National Conference 2018 in Sydney today.
“The current beta testing that we’re doing is limited to registered tax agents so it doesn’t go that step further [yet].
“But there’s another piece of work that, I have to say, is very much in its infancy and in its initial stages because we do recognise that financial advisers play a very important role here [with the reporting regime], so it’s about what mechanisms and systems and services can we also provide so that client information can be accessed where it’s authorised.”
SMSF Association head of technical Peter Hogan, who moderated the panel session, added that access was an interesting question as the Tax Agent Services Act allowed certain people to deal with the ATO on behalf of their clients.
“So it’s a matter of working through that in terms of how these transactions and how gathering this information, which is being collected by the ATO, is going to work from a practical point of view,” Hogan said.
“Given that there’s going to be a lot of people who will want to touch that information and will no doubt be getting approval from their clients to do that, whether they’re legally allowed to access it is something that is being actively talked about with the Tax Practitioners Board and the various members of that board.”
Macfarlane also revealed the tax office had received 900 TBARs from SMSFs to date.