When DVA may request your Tax File Number and why
The Department is authorised to collect Tax File Numbers (TFNs) only for administering certain payments. This authorisation is limited to the following payments:
- Pensions and related allowances and loss of earnings allowance under the Veterans’ Entitlements Act 1986; and
- Incapacity payments under the Safety, Rehabilitation and Compensation Act 1988 and the Military Rehabilitation and Compensation Act 2004.
There is no obligation for you to provide your TFN. However, the above payments cannot be made without the provision of a TFN. The Department’s handling of TFNs is governed by the
Privacy (Tax File Number) Rule 2015, which can be accessed at: www.legislation.gov.au.
Your Tax File Number: Storage and Data Matching
The Department will store personal information in a variety of formats, including on computer and paper media (for example electronic databases and physical files). The Department uses a range of IT and physical security systems to protect the personal information it holds and takes reasonable steps to ensure that information is protected from misuse, interference, loss, unauthorised access, modification and disclosure. In particular, once a person’s TFN is recorded in a computer system, the hard copy of the number is destroyed and staff are unable to access the number.
To help ensure that pensions are only paid to eligible persons, DVA compares its records with other government agencies. Your TFN may be used for this purpose. All matching programs are monitored by the Privacy Commissioner who ensures that the programs are conducted in accordance with the Data-matching Program (Assistance and Tax) Act 1990 and related Guidelines issued by the Privacy Commissioner.
Your Tax File Number and Privacy
The Privacy (Tax File Number) Rule 2015 (TFN rule) regulates the collection, storage, use, disclosure, security and disposal of your TFN information. A breach by the Department of the TFN rule is an interference with individual privacy under the Privacy Act 1988. If you lose or forget your TFN, you will need to contact the Australian Taxation Office for assistance.
Amendments to Commonwealth legislation allowing the collection of TFN information
This webpage is updated when any amendments made to Commonwealth legislation allowing the collection of TFN information by the Department require additional information to be provided to clients.
Penalties applicable for unauthorised acts and practices relating to TFNs information
Unauthorised use or disclosure of tax file numbers is an offence under the Taxation Administration Act 1953 with maximum penalties of 100 penalty units or imprisonment for 2 years, or both. Breaches of the TFN Guidelines may also result in complaints to the Privacy Commissioner.
For further information about your TFN, the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner has made the following information available to assist members of the Australian community to protect their TFN information:
- Privacy fact sheet 6: Protecting your tax file number information
- Privacy agency resource 5: The Privacy (Tax File Number) Rule 2015 and the protection of tax file number information
- Privacy business resource 12: The Privacy (Tax File Number) Rule 2015 and the protection of tax file number information