Auditor population set for ATO campaign as false declarations continue
Approved auditor numbers are being continually misused by the tax agent community, and in about 15 per cent of cases, this is for the purposes of skirting annual obligations.
The ATO has long been concerned that approved auditor numbers are being used in the SMSF lodgement process before an audit has taken place, and without the authority of the auditor.
The tax office’s research shows that in about 85 per cent of cases, this is down to administrative or “genuine” errors.
However, in about 15 per cent of cases, it’s clear the numbers are being used where an audit simply hasn’t and won’t take place.
Because this is an ongoing issue for the tax office, despite its ongoing compliance campaign, auditors will be emailed from March this year with lists of funds which have quoted their auditor number to encourage cross-checking.
Typically, auditor numbers are misquoted by a tax agent, and so far six agents have been referred to the Tax Practitioners Board (TPB).
Dana Fleming, ATO assistant commissioner for the SMSF segment, told SMSF Adviser that the tax office is considering other ways to prevent and police this behaviour in the long term, including new features in the tax agent portal.
Late last year, the ATO singled out 100 funds for investigation as a result of auditor number misuse.
“SMSF trustees or the responsible tax agent may face penalties or prosecution for deliberately making false or misleading statements to the commissioner when reporting an incorrect auditor number or lodging an SMSF annual return before an audit is complete,” the ATO warned at the time.