How to Manage Your Clients’ TFN Information and Stay Compliant

May 16, 2023

TFN and security compliance


As an accounting practice, you have a responsibility to manage your clients’ Tax File Numbers (TFN) properly to ensure compliance with the law. Failure to do so can result in investigations and penalties . In this article, we look at the best practices for managing your clients’ TFN and staying compliant.


The Importance of Managing TFNs

As an accounting practice, you are required to collect and manage your clients’ TFN. You also have an obligation under the Privacy (Tax File Number) Rule 2015 (TFN Rule) to protect the confidentiality of personal information and take reasonable steps to prevent unauthorised access, use, or disclosure.


Best Practices for Managing TFNs

1. Remove the TFN from ATO Documents:

When emailing or mailing ATO documents to your clients, make sure to remove their TFN. This is important to protect their personal information from cyber threats and accidental disclosure. If you accidentally email an ATO document with the TFN to the wrong person or experience a security breach, you must report it to the ATO.


2. Do Not Store the TFN If Not Required:

You should only store your clients’ TFN if it is required for the services you provide. Storing it unnecessarily can lead to compliance issues and put your clients’ personal information at risk. If you are using a document management system, make sure to remove the TFN from any stored documents.


3. Educate Your Employees on Cyber Security:

Your employees play a crucial role in managing your clients’ TFN. It is essential to educate them on the importance of cyber security. Providing security awareness training for your team through providers such as KnowBe4, or a home-grown provider which specialises in accounting firms like Practice Protect, you can ensure your staff are well informed and your practice is fully covered. If you are already working with Practice Protect, make sure you utilise the Practice Protect University.


ATOmate: Meeting Your Compliance Obligations

ATOmate is a software solution that helps accounting practices to manage their clients’ TFN and meet their compliance obligations. It ensures that you take all reasonable steps required by the legislation to protect your clients’ TFN information. With ATOmate TFN’s are automatically redacted and not sent to your clients or stored in your document management system, and all emails are fully encrypted.


Managing your clients’ TFN properly is essential for accounting practices to stay compliant and protect their clients’ personal information. By following the best practices outlined in this article and using solutions like ATOmate, you can ensure that your practice is fully protected and compliant. Furthermore, ATOmate has the highest level of security and compliance with ISO27001 certification and is an ATO-approved Digital Service Provider.


Schedule a discovery meeting today to explore how ATOmate can automate the processing of ATO documents and redact TFNs, ensuring compliance with TFN regulations in your practice.

Disclaimer: The information in this article is intended for general informational purposes only and should not be relied on as legal, accounting or tax advice.​ Business Automation Works does not guarantee the accuracy or reliability of the information provided, any reliance you place on such information is strictly at your own risk. We disclaim any liability for any loss or damage arising from the use of this article or reliance on any information provided within it.

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