Client declarations can be made electronically
(An ATO publication and explanation)
Obtaining a signed paper client declaration may not always be convenient or timely, so your client can chose to provide this declaration electronically, via email or by fax. However, there are some important requirements you will need to meet.
Sections 9 and 10 of the Electronic Transactions Act 1999 require:
- that if information is required to be given in writing, it can be given electronically if the person receiving the information consents to receiving it electronically
- consent does not have to be explicit and can be inferred from a person's conduct
- a method that is reasonable is used to identify the person's signature (eg their email address)
- your consent (noting this can be inferred by your conduct) to your client's signature being sent to you by this method.
Your clients are required to retain the declaration (or a copy) for up to five years, depending on their circumstances. We recommend you also keep a copy of the declaration for your own records.
You can view an example of a declaration and also see what must be stated in the declaration. Remember, every time you lodge an approved form on behalf of your client the law requires you to have first received a signed written declaration from them. This includes all approved forms such as business activity statements and PAYG Withholding end of year files.
Find out more
Related ICB information:
What does this mean practically?
Before you lodge any document with the ATO you must receive authority to do so!
- That implies you have provided the business owner with the copy of what you are about to lodge.
- You have provided sufficient explanation to them as to what is the impact of lodging these forms.
- You have made the business owner aware that they are required to agree to the provisions of the declaration and give you authority to lodge
- You have obtained that declaration in some form Actual lodgement of a form with the ATO on behalf of a business owner implies other things upon an agent: you must NOT knowingly lodge a statement that is false or misleading.
ICB template "Authority to Lodge Electronically" This template can be customised to your needs.
Updated: 29th August, 2014