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ATO sees highest response rate after SAN misuse mailout

ATO
Tony Zhang
24 March 2021 — 1 minute read

The ATO has completed its follow-up mailout to all auditors regarding SMSF auditor number (SAN) misuse, seeing the highest response rate it has had to date.

The ATO said it recently issued a follow-up email to all auditors to serve as a reminder to reply to the SAN misuse mailout.

“To date, we have emailed client lists for the 2019 income year to 4,899 auditors, which totalled 479,635 funds,” the ATO said.

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“We are pleased to say that we have received a response rate of over 67 per cent, the highest that we have ever had. Thank you for your positive response to the mailout.”

The ATO said the responses helped confirm that 287,459 funds received an audit by the auditor reported in the 2019 annual return.

“It also revealed that 1,315 funds did not correctly report the auditor on their return,” the ATO said.

“We will soon be reaching out to the tax professionals of these funds to determine whether the SAN misuse was a result of inadvertent or deliberate reporting.”

The Tax Office also stated that later this year, it will send the reported client lists for the 2020 income year. It was noted that for future reference, auditors can reduce the number of clients that are needed to confirm audits by lodging an audit complete advice (ACA) with the ATO.

Previously, the ATO reminded that following one of the SAN misuse mailouts, an SMSF auditor carefully reviewed their client list and found there were funds listed that they did not audit.

“After they contacted us to let us know, we began an investigation which revealed further funds had not received an audit,” the ATO said.

“Over a period of nine years, Adamson & Cross lodged a number of self-managed superannuation fund (SMSF) annual returns and falsely declared the SMSFs had been audited when no audits had taken place.

“We referred this case to the Tax Practitioners Board (TPB) who uncovered that the partnership lodged 125 SMSF annual returns.

“The TPB decided to terminate the registration of Mr Cross on the grounds of misconduct and imposed a two-year non-application period. The registration of Mr Cross’ partnership, trading as M. Adamson and A. Cross (Adamson & Cross) was also terminated.”

The ATO said this serves as a reminder as to how seriously it takes SAN misuse. 

“Having concluded our most recent and most successful mailout, we will soon be contacting tax professionals where instances of SAN misuse may have occurred,” the Tax Office said.

Tony Zhang

Tony Zhang

Tony Zhang is a journalist at Accountants Daily, which is the leading source of news, strategy and educational content for professionals working in the accounting sector.

Since joining the Momentum Media team in 2020, Tony has written for a range of its publications including Lawyers Weekly, Adviser Innovation, ifa and SMSF Adviser. He has been full-time on Accountants Daily since September 2021.

ATO sees highest response rate after SAN misuse mailout
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