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ATO SMS text message alerts for changes made to SMSF information

Posted on May 6, 2020

We have received alerts from clients receiving the following text messages from ATO advising them of changes made to their SMSF accounts.

Naturally, it’s easy for you to assume that these texts are scams however emails purported to be from ATO with similar notifications followed.
These messages and emails are legitimate and real and not scams.
The ATO has launched a new text message alert service from February 2020 for SMSF trustees.

Details of the ATO SMSF Change of Details Text Message

The service will issue text message alerts to trustees of a self-managed fund when any changes are made to key details relating to that fund.

This includes changes to the SMSF’s:

  • financial account details
  • authorised contacts
  • members
  • electronic service address (ESA) for Superstream (more below)

These messages are legitimate and more information can be found here:
https://www.ato.gov.au/Super/Self-managed-super-funds/In-detail/SMSF-resources/Alerts-for-changes-made-to-SMSF-information/

What does the SMSF change of details text message say?

The ATO SMSF text message/SMS/email reads:

“Hi Trustee

We received a request asking for changes to your self-managed super fund (SMSF) THE TRUSTEE FOR YOUR SUPERANNUATION FUND.
Based on this, we have made changes to your SMSF account. If you know about these changes, you don’t need to do anything else. If you want more information, visit 
ato.gov.au/SMSFaccountmessage “

Why has the SMSF ATO SMS text message been sent?

The ATO legitimately sends these messages when the following details have been updated by an authorised contact person:

  • financial account details
  • authorised contacts
  • members
  • electronic service address (ESA) for Superstream (more below)

Importantly, any of the above details could have been updated when the most recent SMSF return has been lodged with the ATO or when a change of details has been submitted by a tax agent / accountant / administrator such as Superfund Partners.

For example, if you’ve changed the nominated bank account to receive income tax refunds from one financial year to the next (as per the SMSF annual return) this change will trigger a text message or email from the ATO when the SMSF return is lodged.

Changes to the SMSF’s electronic service address (ESA)

One common change we’ve observed with the lodgement of SMSF returns in February 2020 is that it’s triggering a change to the SMSFs nominated electronic service address, specifically for clients using Intello (and any other accountant / SMSF administrator using Class) – the SMSF Data Flow ESA with the ATO is now ‘smsfdataflow’ not ‘SMSFDATAFLOW’

Known Issue with ESA ‘changes’ – 13 February 2020

Due to changes made by the ATO in regards to how a funds ESA (Electronic Service Address for SuperStream) are recorded in SMSF annual returns (free text field versus drop-down) there have been some errant ‘non-change’ change messages triggered when an SMSF lodged an annual return.

ATO Assistant Commissioner – SMSF Segment – Dana Fleming addressed this in a LinkedIn post here.

The ESA issue reported is being investigated as a priority and we are working on a fix to be deployed shortly to correct the error. In the interim, we have stopped the alerts incorrectly triggering to impacted funds.  We will provide an update as soon as the fix has been deployed.  SMSF trustees can be assured that any alerts received are being correctly triggered.

ATO messages will never ask you to reply by text or email or to provide personal information, such as your tax file number (TFN) or your personal bank account number or BSB.

If you are unsure please check with the HCG team or with the accountant or administrator who lodges your SMSF return. Speak to one of the HCG team here.

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