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Significant audit date errors identified from SAN misuse mailout

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Miranda Brownlee
18 November 2020 — 1 minute read

The ATO has identified around 700 instances of SMSF auditor number misuse from its recent mailout and has also outlined concerns about a significant number of audit date changes.

Last month, the ATO completed its SAN misuse mailout for the 2019 SMSF annual return which was aimed at identifying the incorrect reporting of SMSF auditor details on the SAR.

As part of the most recent mailout, the ATO also asked SMSF auditors to cross-check the date the audit report was completed for each audit to identify where practitioners have lodged returns before the completion of the audit report.


In an online update, the ATO said it has now received a response from 41.38 per cent of the auditors it contacted.

“A total of 190 auditors found one or more funds in their client list which they did not complete an audit on, resulting in 703 instances of SAN misuse involving 357 tax agents,” the ATO said.

“These 703 instances of SAN misuse will now be investigated to determine whether the reporting was inadvertent or deliberate.”

The ATO also received advice of 8,316 audit date changes. Most of these, it said, have been administrative errors and very few have been after the date of lodgement.

“We are also concerned about the significant number of audit date changes reported by auditors,” the Tax Office said.

“SMSF annual return preparers must exercise more care when completing SMSF auditor details to avoid making errors.”

The response rate for the 2019 SAR, the ATO said, has already been higher than the 2018 mailout.

“Compared to the 2018 mailout, while the instances of SAN misuse have declined, more auditors have reported the incorrect reporting of their details, involving an increased number of tax agents,” it said.

SMSF auditors who have not yet had the chance to respond still have time to do so, the ATO said.

“We would like to hear from you even if no instances of SAN misuse have occurred,” it said.

Miranda Brownlee

Miranda Brownlee


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.

You can email Miranda on: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Significant audit date errors identified from SAN misuse mailout
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