• Frequently asked questions for Access Manager

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    Access Manager

    What is Access Manager (AM)?  

    How do I Access Manager (AM)  

    What is a delegated access administrator?  

    How can I prevent unauthorised access to my business information?  

    What are my responsibilities as an Administrator AUSkey holder?  

    What are my responsibilities as a Standard AUSkey holder?  

    What is an agent for tax purposes?  

    Does a business appointed as an agent for tax purposes need an AUSkey?  

    My registered tax/BAS agent prepares my activity statement. Should I appoint them as an agent for tax purposes?  

    I have appointed another business to act on my behalf as an agent for tax purposes. To what extent can I restrict staff from that business accessing my business information?  

    What is Access Manager (AM)?

    AM is the ATO’s authorisation system for online services. It is available to Administrator AUSkey holders and those Standard AUSkey holders who have been granted access administrator privileges, to control access to secure tax information.

    It allows you to manage staff access to your business records within the Business Portal and to:

    • set up, modify, and copy permissions for Standard AUSkey holders to control the level of access they have within the portal and when lodging reports to us through Standard Business Reporting (SBR) enabled software
    • disable and delete the AM accounts of your staff
    • set up and manage the level of access assigned to a business that acts on your behalf under a business appointment, also known as an agent for tax purposes
    • notify us that access has been set up under a business appointment
    • manage access to your tax information within the Business Portal, for staff acting under a business appointment
    • notify us when you revoke access for a business acting under a business appointment
    • view the history of changes to staff access settings within the Business Portal.
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    How do I Access Manager (AM)?

    To log into AM you require either:

    • an Administrator AUSkey, or
    • a Standard AUSkey with Delegated Administrator access.

    For more information on how to gain access to the portal, refer to Register to use our online services.

    Administrator AUSkeys

    The first AUSkey for your business must be an Administrator AUSkey, and can only be applied for by an associate listed on the Australian Business Register (ABR). The associate applying for this first AUSkey can nominate themself or another person to hold it. After this point, the Administrator AUSkey holder can choose who to nominate for other Administrator AUSkeys.

    We recommend that only associates registered on the ABR or employees in a position of authority within the business are registered for Administrator AUSkeys. Other employees can be issued with Standard AUSkeys.

    Administrator AUSkey holders have unrestricted access in the Business Portal, including the ability to set Standard AUSkey holder permissions in AM. Staff who can set permissions in AM are called a ‘delegated access administrator’.

    This means they are Administrator AUSkey holders and Standard AUSkey holders who have been granted access administrator privileges.

    Once you assign the Standard AUSkey holder access to the Business Portal, anything they do within the portal is legally binding on your business, as if you had undertaken the transaction within the portal. This arrangement is no different to many of the existing paper arrangements that you have with employees.

    Standard AUSkeys

    Holders of Standard AUSkeys may be given either full access to the Business Portal or be limited to particular functions that are appropriate to their role. These permissions are assigned by a delegated access administrator.

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    What is a delegated access administrator?

    By default, holders of a Standard AUSkeys do not have access to AM. However, holders of an Administrator AUSkeys can appoint a Standard AUSkey holder as a delegated access administrator.

    This allows them to manage staff access to the portal, but is limited in that a delegated access administrator cannot administer or modify their own access.

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    How can I prevent unauthorised access to my business information?

    Where you have allowed your staff access to your secure information on the Business Portal, we recommend that you:

    • use AM regularly to ensure that the people authorised to access the portal are still the ones you want
    • cancel AUSkeys for staff who no longer require them
    • cancel any AUSkey which has been compromised
    • remove access immediately if you have any concerns about individual AUSkey holder’s activities.

    Each person who deals with us online on behalf of your business must have their own AUSkey.

    AUSkey and password details must be kept secure and should not be shared.

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    What are my responsibilities as an Administrator AUSkey holder?

    Access security

    By using an Administrator AUSkey to access the portal, you must:

    • comply with the terms and conditions that relate to the AUSkey
    • keep the AUSkey secure at all times
    • not disclose your password or share it with others.

    Data security

    Data about individuals and entities provided to you through the portal is confidential. You must ensure that unauthorised persons do not have access to that data. If your computer will be unattended, even briefly, you must log out from the portal or lock your computer.

    Responsibilities

    By providing others in the business with electronic access to your secure information, through an AUSkey, as yourself or as an agent for tax purposes under a business appointment, you need to understand:

    • what functionality that type of AUSkey allows that user to access
    • what transactions these users can undertake
    • the nature of your relationship with any entities engaged under a business appointment as an agent for tax purposes
    • what information and transactions a business appointed as an agent for tax purposes can access and undertake in the portal
    • that the transactions undertaken through the Business Portal are legally binding on your business.

    AM allows you to manage which people have electronic access to your tax information. Therefore, it is your responsibility to implement processes that allow you to regularly review and monitor which people have access to your records through the Business Portal.

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    What are my responsibilities as a Standard AUSkey holder?

    Access security

    By using a Standard AUSkey to access the portal, you must:

    • comply with the terms and conditions that relate to the AUSkey
    • keep the AUSkey secure at all times
    • not disclose your password or share it with others.

    Data security

    Data about individuals and entities provided to you through the portal is confidential. You must ensure that unauthorised persons do not have access to that data. If your computer will be unattended, even briefly, you must log out from the portal or lock your computer.

    Responsibilities

    As a Standard AUSkey holder, your responsibilities include:

    • understanding what records you are authorised to view
    • understanding what transactions you are authorised to undertake
    • acknowledging that you are appointed by the business to access their data or carry out transactions on their behalf, and that appointment is current
    • understanding that whatever actions you undertake through the portal are legally binding on the business
    • understanding that responsibility for activities undertaken by you through the portal (for example, updates made and returns, notices, statements, applications and other documents transmitted to the ATO) will remain despite ceasing to use this portal or having access to it
    • notifying your administrator if the security of your AUSkey has been compromised, or if there is any change in the information on which the issue of your AUSkey was based
    • understanding that processes may be implemented by the business that allow them to regularly review and monitor which people have access to the tax records of the business through the portal.
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    What is an agent for tax purposes?

    An agent for tax purposes is the term used for a business that you have appointed as your agent to act on your behalf in the portal. This authorisation for access permissions provided to another entity is also referred to as a Business appointment.

    Transactions completed on your behalf are legally binding, as if you had done them yourself.

    An agent in this context is not the same as a registered tax agent. This agency relationship is separate to, and in addition to, any relationship you may have with a registered tax agent. Only a registered tax agent, or in some circumstances, a BAS agent, can be paid for providing taxation services.

    Your agent can view and work with your tax information in the portal. Before you allow your agent access to your information, make sure you fully understand the nature of an agent relationship.

    Here is an example of a situation where you may choose to appoint an agent for tax purposes.

    You own three companies:

    • Company No. 1 Pty Ltd – operates a retail trading business which is also responsible for the tax and accounting affairs of all your other businesses
    • Company No. 2 Pty Ltd – invests in shares and rental properties
    • Company No. 3 Pty Ltd – operates a franchise business.

    Each entity has an Australian business number (ABN). As the owner of each entity, you have applied for and received an Administrator AUSkey for each entity.

    In this instance, Company No. 2 Pty Ltd and Company No. 3 Pty Ltd may wish to appoint Company No. 1 Pty Ltd as their agent for tax purposes. This appointment allows the retail trading company to act on behalf of Company No. 2 Pty Ltd and Company No. 3 Pty Ltd for the purpose of viewing and working with their tax information in the portal.

    The benefit of this appointment is to give you, as an authorised officer of the Company No. 1 Pty Ltd, the ability to browse or undertake transactions for each of the other two companies within the same portal session rather than logging in and out of the portal using three different security credentials.

    The key point to note is that the agent for tax purposes has the authority to act in the capacity of the business that appointed them. Accordingly, any action done by your agent for tax purposes will be assumed to have been done by your business. Your business is legally liable for anything they do on your behalf.
    In this example, Company No. 2 Pty Ltd and Company No. 3 Pty Ltd will be bound by the action of Company No. 1 Pty Ltd acting on their behalf.

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    Does a business appointed as an agent for tax purposes need an AUSkey?

    Yes – for your agent to be able to use the portal, they must:

    • have a valid Australian business number (ABN)
    • have a valid AUSkey
    • use the Business Portal  
    • agree to the business appointment as your agent for tax purposes.
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    My registered tax/BAS agent prepares my activity statement. Should I appoint them as an agent for tax purposes?

    No, you should not appoint your registered tax agent as an agent for tax purposes. Registered tax/BAS agents have their own portal known as the Tax Agent Portal where they can access your records.

    I have appointed another business to act on my behalf as an agent for tax purposes. To what extent can I restrict the access of staff acting under a business appointment to my business information?

    When you notify us, using AM, that you have appointed a business to act on your behalf, you can set the level of access that the appointed business has to your business information. You may allow the appointed business access to all portal functions for your business or restrict access to a number of functions.

    After this appointment has been made, a delegated access administrator within the appointed business can then authorise individual staff to have access to your information. They can also specify the portal functions that the staff member has access to. Only those functions that you specified when appointing the business to act on your behalf will be available for selection by the delegated access administrator of that business.

    Through AM, you can view a list of staff access under a business appointment.

    You can also view, but not change, the portal functions that have been assigned to a staff member. If you have any concern regarding either the staff or level of access they have to your business information, you should advise a delegated access administrator for the business appointed as your agent for tax purposes.

    We recommend that you develop agreed processes with businesses that you appoint as an agent for tax purposes so you will always know:

    • who you are granting the access to (that is, the identities of the Administrator AUSkey holders)
    • which Standard AUSkey users they may grant access to and the period of time for which they will have access.

    All activities undertaken by staff in the appointed business are legally binding on your business.

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Relying on our information - our commitment to you

We are committed to providing you with advice and guidance you can rely on, so we make every effort to ensure that what we give you is correct.

If you follow our advice or guidance and it turns out to be incorrect, or it is misleading and you make a mistake as a result, we will take that into account when determining what action, if any, we should take.

Some of the advice and guidance on this website applies to a specific financial year. This is clearly marked. Make sure you have the information for the right year before making decisions based on that information.

If you feel that our advice and guidance does not fully cover your circumstances, or you are unsure how it applies to you, contact us or seek professional advice.

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© Australian Taxation Office for the Commonwealth of Australia

You are free to copy, adapt, modify, transmit and distribute this material as you wish (but not in any way that suggests the ATO or the Commonwealth endorses you or any of your services or products).