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Collection and Storage of Tax File Numbers

Collection Of Tax File Numbers

Monash university handles Tax File Numbers (TFN's) in accordance with the Tax File Number Guidelines 2011. In particular, the University must take reasonable steps to:

  • Protect TFN information from misuse and loss, and from unauthorised access, use, modification or disclosure; and
  • Ensure that access to records containing TFN information is restricted to individuals who need to handle that information for taxation law, personal assistance law or superannuation law purposes

Monash University is authorised to collect Tax File Numbers (TFN's) for tax-related purposes only. The following are examples of authorised TFN collection at Monash University:

  • Tax File Number Declaration (for Employment)
  • Postgraduation Education Loans Scheme (PELS) Loans Request Form
  • Higher Education Contribution Scheme (HECS) Payment Options Declaration
  • Bridging for Overseas-Trained Professionals Loan Scheme (BOTPLS)

A person's TFN must not be disclosed to anyone except the Australian Taxation Office. When setting up a superannuation fund for a staff member, the TFN should be provided to the Superannuation Fund within 14 days of receiving a TFN declaration form from the staff member, or when you make the first payment to the fund after receiving the TFN, whichever occurs last. This rule only applies if you have to make super payments for that staff member.

A TFN must not be used to establish or confirm a person's identity.

When collecting TFN's, a person must be told:

  • The legal basis for collection
  • That declining to quote a TFN is not an offence; and
  • The consequences of not quoting a TFN (eg for employment related purposes tax withheld at the highest marginal rate)

TFN’s May Be Obtained In Writing Or Over The Phone

TFN's provided in writing must be contained on the relevant Declaration forms or on the authorised form designed to collect the TFN (available from Student Administration). Declaration forms are to be forwarded to the Department of Education, Science or Training or the Australian Taxation Office (as required by legislation). It is strongly recommended that the declarations are sent via secure courier or registered post. Any copies of the authorised form which collects TFNs must be securely destroyed as soon as it is entered onto Callista or SAP (eg shredded).

When collecting TFN's via phone, the TFN should be entered directly onto SAP or Callista.

If an individual chooses not to delete their TFN from a document they provide to Monash, then Monash must delete the TFN from the document. In some cases, the TFN will need to be cut out, as blocking does not prohibit legibility.

Storage Of Tax File Numbers Collected By Monash

If Monash has accidentally obtained a person's TFN, the procedure described above should be followed.

A TFN supplied in response to a request by Monash should be entered as soon as possible on Callista or SAP (TFN's can only be viewed on Callista or SAP by authorised staff).

The copy of the Declaration - which is available for Monash to keep - must be retained securely, including appropriate access controls. TFNs have been classified as critical under the University standards for electronic security classification - refer to the Electronic Information Security Classification Policy and the Electronic Information Security Policy.

Provision Of Tax File Numbers To Individual

A representative from the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) recommended that all organisations adopt the same security measures as the ATO when releasing tax-file numbers to individuals. There are two methods available to Monash University.

  1. Students attend the office with photo identification. The tax-file number should not be released until a representative from the office has viewed the ID. Staff should contact Access HR to make appropriate arrangements.
  2. A request can be made over the phone. The following pieces of information are required to confirm the individual's identity: full name, DOB and last postal address Monash University has in its records. The tax-file number should then be sent via letter to the last postal address only. Please do not send it to another address even if requested by the student or staff member. The address will need to be changed in the system by the usual method (students via WES and staff via ESS) before the tax-file number will be sent to another address.

In all instances of releasing the tax-file number it is also recommended that a file note or copy of the letter is added to the student/staff file. If a copy of the letter is added to the student/staff file please ensure that the tax file number is deleted from the letter as tax file numbers must not be stored on an individual's file.

A staff member may also contact the Australian Taxation Officer direct - tax file numbers are provided to individuals in a manner similar to that outlined above.

Alternatively a staff member may access their own TFN through ESS - the TFN is reported on prior year payment summaries as appropriate.