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ATO, Auditing

Tax agent may provide access to ACR

SMSF auditors ACR

SMSF auditors unable to access lodged ACRs may be able to request copies via their clients’ tax agents.

SMSF auditors seeking a copy of an auditor contravention report (ACR) will not be able to access it from the ATO, but may be able to do so via the client’s tax agent, according to a senior ATO executive.

ATO SMSF auditor and portfolio director Kellie Grant said the decommissioning of the electronic superannuation audit tool (eSAT) from 1 March and the transition to Online Services for Business (OSB) meant that once an ACR had been lodged auditors could not retrieve a copy via the regulator.

Speaking at the Self-managed Independent Superannuation Funds Association Annual SMSF Forum today, Grant said any documents lodged via OSB were directly connected to SMSF accounts in the ATO’s system, unlike eSAT, which was standalone software that ran on an auditor’s computer.

“ESAT was keeping its own history of the ACRs an auditor lodged and when they wanted they could go into those reports as they were not pulling them from our systems,” she said.

“With OSB, we would be pulling the ACR from the client’s records and the privacy laws don’t allow that.

“It does sound crazy since you created that information you should be able to ask for a copy of it, but as soon as it connects to a trustee’s account it becomes protected information and we can’t share except with a covered entity like a taxation agent.”

She suggested auditors save ACRs or where that was not possible, liaise with their client’s tax agent to seek access to a report.

“In a situation where you don’t save the ACR before you send it to us, you could go to the tax agent of that trustee and ask them to ask the ATO for a copy of what was lodged,” she said.

“It is an inconvenience, but unfortunately that is just the way it works until we get any law change on ensuring an approved auditor is considered a covered entity like a tax agent.”

While the ATO had informed auditors they can uninstall eSAT, she added anyone still using it could do so as an offline storage system, but it was no longer able to lodge any reports of any kind.

“If you are using eSAT to store your ACRs, they will not make their way to us, but if you still want to use it for bookkeeping purposes, you could do that,” she said.

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