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Catfish Count Continues

230 Tax Agents have mis-used SANs in the latest count

The ATO is continuing its program to weed out the mis-use of SMSF Auditor Numbers (SAN) where tax agents are in effect masquerading as auditors.

The ATO mailed the 2018 annual returns to registered SMSF auditors requesting a SAN confirmation check and this resulted in 107 auditors confirming their SANs were misused by an alarming number of 230 different tax agents. The breaches occurred on 832 separate occasions.

Although alarming, these results are an improvement on the same exercise with the 2017 annual returns where 420 auditors confirmed their details had been misused on 1445 occasions by 626 tax agents. Some of these tax agents have had their registration with the Tax Practitioners Board terminated as a result.

The ATO is looking to further improve the integrity of SAN use and is looking to SMSF trustees to assist in stopping the catfishing of SANs.

SMSF Trustee Responsibility

The ATO has said that SMSF trustees have a responsibility to ensure their fund has not been victim to the misuse of SMSF auditor numbers.

ATO SMSF segment acting assistant commissioner Stephen Keating said recently, “An important message I have for SMSF trustees is remember it’s your responsibility to make sure your SMSF has had its independent audit completed prior to the lodgement of your SMSF annual return.”

“You must validate with your tax agent that the details they are reporting on your behalf are true and accurate, so make sure you ask for a copy of the auditor’s report before you lodge.”

ATO encourages communication between Trustees and Auditors

Keating has advised trustees to be engaged with their auditor. He says trustees need a copy of the auditor’s report to review, and unless they are satisfied with it, they should not lodge the return in question.

“My advice to trustees is they need to talk to the auditor who has been reported on their return,” Keating said.

SaulSMSF has Increased capacity

With the ATO focussed on better governance of the SMSF industry, including enforcing independent audits, Saul SMSF has moved to a new larger office to increase our capacity to undertake audits for Accounting firms who want quality, independent audits. All audits are conducted in our office in Australia by our quality expert team.

Contact us by reply email or call on 1300 551 261 if you would like to find out more.

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