Everything you need to know about Client-Agent Linking Process as a Business Owner

Everything you need to know about Client-Agent Linking Process as a Business Owner

Did you know that all entities except sole traders with an Australian Business Number (ABN) now have to nominate a new tax or BAS Agent before they will be able to access any of your financial information and act on your behalf. However, if you already have an Agent acting on your behalf there are no requirements or changes. 

This may seem a little confronting so to make it easier, we have broken the process down for you. 

Set Up Your Digital ID 

Your first step in setting up Online Services for Businesses requires setting up a personal Digital identity via myGovID, the Australian Government’s Digital ID app. 

This digital ID is unique to you, using your personal information that cannot be shared with others. You need to have ‘Strong’ identity strength to be able to access the government systems. You will be required to provide the necessary proof of identity documents. 

You can use the following proof of identity documents. 

  • Passport (if not expired for more then 3 years)
  • Driver’s licence 
  • Birth certificate 
  • Visa (when using foreign passport)
  • ImmiCard
  • Citizenship certificate
  • Medicare card (once you have verified one of the above documents) 

Once you have established your digital identity, you will then need to link your myGovID to your ABN via the Relationship Authorisation Manager (RAM). You will be able to log in to the Relationship Authorisation Manager using your myGovID credentials. 

What is A Relationship Authorisation Manager (RAM)?  

The Relationship Authorisation Manager is an online platform that enables entities to manage who can act on their behalf when engaging with various online government services and agencies such as the Australian Tax Office (ATO). 

Linking to a Business in RAM 

To access services on behalf of a business, you will need to link your myGovID to the business’s Australian Business Number (ABN) in RAM. How this occurs depends on an individual’s role in the business. 

This process will need to start with the principal authority as recorded on the ABN register, they will need to be the first to link to the business in RAM and require a strong myGovID identity. Once this link is established, other members of the business can be authorised to act on the business’s behalf. 

Ready To Nominate an Agent Using Online Services for Business 

When you have completed the previous steps you will now be ready to nominate your chosen Agent. To do this you will need your Agent’s (or payroll service provider’s) Registered Agent Number and practice name. 

Once you have this you can then nominate them using the following steps. 

From the Online services for business home page:

  1. select Profile, then Agent Details
  2. at the Agent Nominations field, select Add
  3. on the Nominate agent screen, go to Search for agent
  4. type your agent’s (or payroll service provider’s) Registered Agent Number and select Search
  5. select the Agent you want to nominate
  6. check that the Agent’s details are correct
  7. complete the Declaration
  8. select Submit.

You should now be able to see your nominated Agent’s details listed under Agent Nominations.

Agents don’t receive an automated system notification so you must let your nominated Agent know when you have completed this step. Your Agent then has 28 days to act on this nomination before it expires. 

If they need more time in which to add you as a client then you can extend the nomination which will add another 28 days. 

You will be able to extend the nomination the day after submitting and will be able to do so at any time during the 28 calendar days of the original nomination period. 

To extend a nomination:

  1. from the Agent nomination screen in Online Services for Business, select Extend. This can be found next to your agent’s name.
  2. at the Extend Agent nomination screen, check the details of the Agent are correct. If they are not correct, you can delete an agent nomination by selecting Delete.
  3. complete the declaration and select Submit.

Again, you should let your agent know that you have extended the nomination. If a nomination has lapsed you will need to submit a new one, you will not be able to extend it. 

This means they will then be able to add you to their client list and will be authorised to act on your behalf. 

What if I Have Both a Tax And BAS Agent?

Tax and BAS Agents are both able to be in the system and authorised to act for the same client. Tax Agents will largely focus on tax matters and BAS Agents will focus on the lodgement of BAS and other required reporting. 

If you are looking for a new Agent to act on your behalf, you can contact us today 



About Author

Kate Gordon

With over 20 years experience in bookkeeping across Australia and the United Kingdom, Kate Gordon brings a wealth of knowledge by working with a range of clients from various industries. Covering a portfolio from small and medium enterprises to large corporations has led her to become proficient in all areas of bookkeeping.

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