The Tax Practitioners Board (TPB) has recommended that all tax agents begin proof of identity verifications for their new clients. Strong client verification helps protect you and your clients from becoming a victim of identity crime which has increased with sophisticated technology.
To make this a smooth process, the ATO and TPB have developed guidelines to be used along with TPB's Proof of identity requirements for client verification for consistency and alignment.
Is the verification mandatory?
No, but the ATO and TPB recommend verifying your new clients straight away to minimise any risk of identity theft. This is expected to be made mandatory later in 2023.
Verifying your clients
When you take on a new client, verify their proof of identity before providing any services.
The details that need to be verified depend on the type of client:
- Individuals (with a representative)
There are minimum requirements that are needed to verify the identity of a client.
For example, an individual client needs verification of their full name and date of birth and/or residential address, with at least one primary photo id such as a passport.
See the verification requirements from the Tax Practitioners Board (TPB) that shows what information should be verified and example of documents that can be used for identification.
Use the tpb_factsheet_-_proof_of_identity_checks_for_client_verification.pdf so they know what documents and information are required for verification.
Changes in AE/AO
In AE/AO, we've created a new tab called Proof of Identity (POI) to record your client's ID.
When you enter the POI for your clients, we will display the status in other sections within AE/AO.
If you don't see the field, right-click and select Field Chooser and select POI status from the list.
|Window in AE/AO||Fields displayed|
|tax - Client search|
Activity Statement Obligation
If you're adding a new client or a contact, you can complete the Proof of Identity in the Create Client/Contact wizard window.
Completing the Proof of identity tab is optional but if you've answered the question - Do you need to verify your client's ID's? then you must complete the details. Otherwise, you'll not be able to finish creating the client/contact.
- For an existing client, go to the Proof of Identity (POI) tab.
- Select Add Record.
- In the Proof of Identity Verification window, select Yes or No on whether you need to verify your client's identity.
If you select No, you need to complete all the details including the reason why you're not verifying the identity of the client by documenting/sighting/verifying their IDs.
The Set expiry date field is optional. You can use it to enter the date after which you'll need to verify the identity of this client again. For example, if you verify a director for a company and their tenure ends in 2 years, then you can POI to expire in 2 years.
If you select Yes, complete the sections (Client ID, Representative ID, and Authorisation, Documents sighted) depending on if they're an individual or non-individual client. Click Save.
The fields marked with red asterisk * are mandatory fields.
- In the Proof of Identity (POI) tab,
- the Audit trial section shows the name of the user (Recorded by) who is logged in AE/AO and the status of the POI.
- the Current Record section shows who's verified the client's ID's and other details of the current record.
Example screenshot if you've selected Yes
Example Screenshot if you've selected No
Once you've entered the verification, you'll be able to edit the details if required.
When you edit a record, we'll add a new record (with all the details) rather than editing the previous record. This is for tracking purposes.