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NAB submission

[Redacted for publication]
[received as email on 12 September 2011]

Dear Sir/Madam

Thank you for the opportunity to provide feedback on the draft revised TFN Guidelines and accompanying Information sheet/FAQs.

We note the context provided in the consultation paper, that the purpose of this revision is not to make substantial policy changes but to make the TFN guidelines easier to read, understand and interpret (including by incorporating the existing Commissioner's Notes and Compliance notes into either the TFN Guidelines themselves or as separate guidance material in the form of FAQs).

Overall, we consider the concept of incorporating all the guidance material (ie the Commissioner's Notes and Compliance Notes) into the one set of FAQs is helpful.  We also believe there are some drafting opportunities with the proposed FAQs that may assist further achieving the aim of making the TFN Guidelines easier to understand and interpret.

This is observation is based on the current proposed FAQs not being contextual and/or specific to the particular TFN guideline.  The proposed FAQs are divided into 3  parts according to whether you are an individual, a TFN recipient or an investment body rather than by TFN Guideline.  We suggest it would be preferable if the FAQs were organised according to the relevant TFN guideline (as is presently the case with the Commissioner's Notes) as this would help ensure relevant  information may be more easily located, whilst removing any repetition (or any possible confusion) in the proposed format.  As a practical example, a bank may be 'TFN recipient' or an 'investment body' so it unclear to the reader which part of the FAQs may be relevant.

In relation to specific feedback about the content of the revised TFN Guidelines and FAQs, we are pleased to provide the following comments:

TFN Guidelines
Introduction:
The introduction could mention that in complying with these guidelines, regard should be had to the FAQs.

Guideline 2:
Guidelines 2.3 and 2.4 appear to effectively represent the same thing. The further explanation in 2.4 about the consequences of not quoting a TFN is more appropriate as 'guidance' as per the existing TFN guidelines.

Guideline 3:
It is unclear whether the provisions in Guideline in 3.2 (a)(i) and (ii) are intended to provide more onerous requirements than the requirements in existing
Guideline 5.2 which simply requires that the individual be informed 'of the legal basis for collection'. Care should also be taken that any change to this Guideline should be consistent with information published by the ATO such as that contained in its publication 'Investment Industry - Guidance on the Preparation of Tax File Number Forms'.

Guideline 4:
Wording in Guideline 4.1 could be clearer

Guideline 6:
Operational query - Does a higher standard now apply to the security of TFNs by inclusion of the words "in a way that anticipates all reasonably foreseeable risks to security" into Guideline 6.1(a)?  Previously this  wording was included in the non-binding Commissioner's notes. Guideline 6.3 also appears to be a repeat of Guideline 6.2 i.e. Guideline 6.2 already requires any destruction to be done securely.

Classes of lawful tax file number recipients:
The Classes of lawful tax file number recipients could make it clearer that "approved recipients" (as defined in the Guidelines) are also lawful tax file number recipients. This is only mentioned briefly in the last paragraph, however "approved recipients"  could have its own separate heading to improve clarity.

FAQs
Part A
Item 6: It appears this question is designed to provide some guidance to individuals in relation to the incidental provision of their TFN (i.e Guideline 4). The commentary however under the heading "Remember" may not be helpful as the person is not effectively giving or quoting their tax file number for the purpose of it being recorded against their profile/name in these circumstances so any mention of consequences is irrelevant.

Part B
Item 5: Opportunity to make wording clearer, for example, paragraphs 1 & 3 could be combined to avoid repetition.

Item 9: The inclusion of the wording "If an individual is asked to provide information that incidentally includes a TFN, the TFN recipient should give the person the opportunity to remove the TFN before providing the other information" suggests there may now be a positive obligation on TFN recipients to offer this opportunity to individuals rather than simply leaving this up to the individual to delete as per the existing Commissioner's notes.  This may represent a change in the policy intention of the guidelines?


Kind regards


Barbara Robertson
Chief Privacy Officer & Head of Notices
Group Governance & Legal
National Australia Bank

Level 4 (UB4440), 800 Bourke Street, Docklands VIC 3008
Tel: [Redacted for publication]  |  Fax: [Redacted for publication]  |  Mob: [Redacted for publication]
Email: [Redacted for publication]