The ATO has sent out a reminder to practitioners for the submission of their responses to the SMSF auditor number (SAN) misuse mail-out sent in September last year.
The initiative applies to SMSF annual returns furnished for the period covering 1 July 2020 to 30 June 2021.
As part of the exercise, the regulator is asking these practitioners to inform it as to whether their SAN has been misreported on any SMSF annual returns for 2020 and whether their SAN has been misreported on any other SMSF annual return for the 2020 financial year.
According to the ATO, the initiative will also assist it in determining if any SMSF annual returns were lodged without a mandatory audit of the fund being performed.
“Even where the lists reveal no misreporting, auditors should still confirm this with us so we can be assured that the funds in the list received an audit,” it said.
The ATO again acknowledged the procedure had been amended, as announced in September last year, making it more streamlined with the removal of any SMSFs from the list to be checked that have had an auditor contravention report or an audit complete advice pertaining to them.
The detection of SAN misuse has a high probability of having the ATO refer the practitioner who has perpetrated the illegal activity to the Tax Practitioners Board (TPB).
The misuse of an SAN constitutes a breach of the Tax Agents Services Act 2009 Code of Professional Conduct and can lead to the TPB issuing the offending auditor with a written caution, an order, or a suspension or termination of their registration with the Australian Securities and Investments Commission.
If SMSF trustees are found to have deliberately misused an SAN, they can face regulator sanctions as well.
The ATO also took the opportunity to remind auditors to switch to its Online Services for Business to familiarise themselves with the new method by which audit contravention reports and audit complete advices need to be lodged.