ATO assistant commissioner Kasey Macfarlane says the ATO has been investigating all cases reported to the tax office involving the potential misuse of auditor numbers, following concerns raised by SMSF auditors last year.
Following this investigation, the ATO has detected discrepancies, in a small number of cases, between the auditor numbers it received and those recorded by the SMSF auditors themselves, Ms MacFarlane said.
“In the majority of cases, what the evidence has revealed is that the relevant funds have in fact have been properly audited prior to the lodgement of the return. However, there’s been a data entry error in the return, leading to another auditor’s details being captured,” she said in a recording with the SMSF Association.
“In those situations, the tax agents have worked with us to rectify that.”
In other cases, however, returns have been lodged with the funds, having been properly audited and the auditor’s information have been included for those returns.
“Some of those returns are still under investigation, but to date there have been three referrals to the tax practitioner’s board,” Ms Macfarlane said.
“As a result of our actions in this area, there is also a small group of tax agents who haven’t responded to our requests for further information and we will be undertaking further follow-up action with those agents very soon.”
SMSF auditors who are concerned their details may have been misused can contact the ATO for a list of SMSF annual returns that have been lodged with their auditor number in a particular year.
“When ATO auditors contact us through that service, they can expect to get a response to their email within three working days. Once we have provided the SMSF auditor with that list of SMSF annual returns where their auditor number has been recorded, the auditor can then reconcile that information with their client records,” Ms Macfarlane said.
“If there are any discrepancies identified, they can come back to the ATO and advise the SMSF auditor team accordingly. Any discrepancies that are reported to us or brought to our attention by SMSF auditors are investigated.”