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Tax agents circled in ATO audit swoop


In an update on its ongoing investigation into auditor numbers, the ATO has revealed that 22 tax agents are involved with the potential misuse of auditor numbers and that a further 231 SMSFs are on its radar.

By Miranda Brownlee 9 minute read

The ATO announced earlier this week that it was going to be investigating around 100 SMSFs this year where it believes there is a risk that SMSF auditor numbers have been misquoted. 

ATO assistant commissioner Dana Fleming has now revealed that the 100 SMSFs it plans to investigate for misquoted numbers this financial year are represented by 22 tax agents.

The ATO has also identified a further 230 SMSFs that the ATO is interested in, Ms Fleming told delegates at the SMSF Summit in Adelaide.

Last year, the ATO referred five tax agents to the Tax Practitioners’ Board for this practice, she said.

“We will of course take the appropriate response. Sometimes when we have investigated it, it is simply that the data entry person has simply put last years’ number in the return without using the number of the person who actually did the audit. Of course, in those situations we will work with them to correct the returns to make sure that the right auditor number is reflected on the return,” she explained.

“However, where we see deliberate misuse, we will look to impose penalties and potentially refer the tax agent to the Tax Practitioners’ Board.”

Trustees should also be aware, she warned, that when they’re signing the SMSF annual return, they are making a declaration to the fact that they have received the annual audit report.

“Unfortunately, this is not always the case and we have had increased requests for dealing with this matter where the auditor’s number is falsely quoted.”


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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 also has broad business and financial services reporting experience, having written for titles including Investor Daily, ifa and Accountants Daily.

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