Tax File Number Privacy Law Touchpoint Legal

Do You Comply With Privacy Tax File Number Laws?

Privacy Tax File Number Laws and Tax Service Providers

If you are a tax service provider you need to comply with the privacy tax file number laws, including the Privacy (Tax File Number) Rule 2015 (“the Rule”) and provisions of the Tax Administration Act (Cth) 1953 (“the TAA”).  If you don’t, you could in some circumstances face criminal penalties, civil penalties and orders to pay damages.

There are strict laws about: Tax File Number Privacy Law

  • who may request a tax file number 
  • when you must obtain consent to collect a tax file number
  • what mandatory information you must disclose when collecting tax file numbers
  • how tax file numbers can be used, disclosed and destroyed; and
  • 4 key staff training obligations.

Failure to comply with the Rules and the TAA can have serious consequences.

Accountant Referred for Prosecution

Take the case of an accountant who hired a debt collector to recover fees. The accountant provided the debt collector and a solicitor with a file that included a copy of the client’s Group Certificate (citing the client’s tax file number). The client lodged a complaint with the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner (OAIC) alleging that the accountant had unlawfully disclosed his tax file number.

The OAIC considered that the accountant’s actions could constitute an offence and referred the matter to the Commissioner of Police.

Fortunately for this accountant, the police decided not to prosecute. A large fine and/or up to 2 years’ imprisonment can apply for this type of breach. Instead, the OAIC pursued the case and determined that the accountant had breached the Rule by making a disclosure that was not authorised by taxaton law. The accountant was ordered to pay compensation and issue an apology to the client.

So how can this situation be avoided?

If you request or collect tax file numbers, then you need to know how to comply with the Rule and TAA. The privacy tax file number laws apply to recipients of tax file numbers regardless of whether you are a small or large tax service provider. If you’d like to know more, click here to access your free Privacy Tax File Number Laws Checklist.

How Privacy Tax File Number Lawcan we help?

Privacy tax file number laws are complex. Touchpoint Legal provides Privacy Tax File Number Guidelines and personalised service to help protect you from breaching the law. There’s no obligation or cost to contact us and find out how we can help you.  Click here to contact us or learn more about our Privacy TFN Laws Services. 

(If your business has an annual turnover of over $3,000,000, then the Privacy Act (including the Australian Privacy Principles) may also apply to you. Click here for more information about how we can help.)


This blog is for information purposes only, does not constitute legal advice and should not be relied upon as such. If you require legal advice please contact us or another registered legal practitioner.

About The Author

Angela Stackelbeck

Angela Stackelbeck is a Legal Director at Touchpoint Legal. She has practised law in Sydney in large corporates and private practice, for over 20 years. Angela's broad experience allows her to uniquely offer the dual benefit of practical legal expertise gained in private practice and commercial pragmatism learned from the in-house environment. You can contact Angela at or on 02 8005 0692 or 0404 872 644.