Readers will recall that the ATO has reminded trustees of closely held trusts that they must comply (our emphasis) with the TFN reporting requirements.

Recently, a diligent member of Tax & Super Australia decided that she would ensure that this was undertaken for all of her clients. However, she was unsure as to whether the reporting requirements had been undertaken in relation to trust clients that she had acquired from other accountants.

Accordingly, she requested a report from the ATO of all the beneficiaries of her clients’ trusts for which the TFN report had been completed. The ATO was unable to provide her with such a report.

She asked the ATO how she could then know whether the TFN reports had been completed for her clients.

After a few days of silence, the ATO called back to say that she only needed to do them when the Commissioner asked for them!

The ATO’s TFN report webpage says: “You must lodge a TFN report for a quarter in which a beneficiary quotes their TFN to you.” Confused? You should be!

It seems that most tax practitioners are bewildered by the need to lodge these TFN reports, because the TFNs of beneficiaries to whom a distribution has been made must, of course, be disclosed in the tax return of the trust.

It is time this administrative burden was lifted off tax agents. Readmore