ATO reports on auditor numbers swoop
In light of its investigation into the misuse of auditor numbers, the ATO has outlined its findings and advised SMSF auditors how they can report any potential misuse.
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, before 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.”
Miranda Brownlee is the deputy editor of SMSF Adviser, which is the leading source of news, strategy and educational content for professionals working in the SMSF sector.
Since joining the team in 2014, Miranda has been responsible for breaking some of the biggest superannuation stories in Australia, and has reported extensively on technical strategy and legislative updates. Miranda has also directed SMSF Adviser's print publication for several years.
Miranda also has broad business and financial services reporting experience, having written for titles including Investor Daily, ifa and Accountants Daily.