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ATO detects 1,445 instances of potential SMSF SAN misuse

ATO detects 1,445 instances of potential SMSF SAN misuse

The ATO has detected 1,445 instances of potential SMSF auditor number (SAN) misuse involving 626 tax practitioners.

  • Maja Garaca Djurdjevic
  • July 16, 2019
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The Tax Office has warned self-managed super fund (SMSF) auditors it takes a proactive approach to SMSF auditor number (SAN) misuse.

In May, the ATO completed a mailout to 5,446 SMSF auditors providing them with a list of funds that reported their SAN on SMSF annual returns for the 2017 income year. To date, 2,739 auditors have responded.

Of those who responded, 2,319 confirmed no SAN misuse. The other 420 auditors reported 1,445 instances of potential SAN misuse involving 626 tax practitioners.

“We're currently contacting these practitioners to determine whether they've deliberately misreported a SAN,” the ATO said, adding it has seen some “very concerning behaviour”.

“Some practitioners have fraudulently charged clients for audits that didn't occur and some have even prepared false audit reports with forged auditor signatures. We treat this behaviour very seriously and propose to refer these matters for criminal prosecution,” the Tax Office revealed.

In addition to considering prosecution, if ATO does identify inappropriate use of SANs by tax practitioners, it will refer them to the Tax Practitioners Board (TPB) to determine whether the practitioner’s conduct has breached the Code of Professional Conduct of the Tax Agent Services Act 2009.

Last financial year, the ATO referred five tax agents to the TPB for deliberate SAN misuse.

Further review of SAN usage

All SMSF auditors will get another opportunity to review the list of funds that reported their SAN on SMSF annual returns for the 2018 income year as part of a further mailout scheduled to start in early September and conclude in October.

"We trust our continued mailouts will decrease the misreporting of SANs," the ATO said.

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