4.1.1.20 Exemption from TFN Requirements for FTB

Summary

In some circumstances an individual (1.1.I.90) may be granted an exemption from the requirement to provide a TFN statement when claiming FTB. Grounds for granting an exemption and the types of exemptions are discussed in this topic.

Reasons for granting an exemption

The following table summarises the circumstances in which an exemption from the requirement to make a TFN statement may be possible.

If the person is… Then an exemption is…
claiming FTB under normal circumstances, not possible.
making a bereavement claim (1.1.B.20) in substitution for a deceased person who was eligible for FTB, only possible if the individual is unable to provide the TFN of the deceased person.
the partner (1.1.P.30) of the individual, possible under limited circumstances.
the former partner of the individual, possible under limited circumstances.
the partner of a deceased person where another person is making a bereavement claim in substitution for a deceased person who was eligible for FTB, possible if the individual is unable to provide the TFN of the deceased person's partner or obtain a TFN statement from them.

Act reference: FA(Admin)Act section 8(7) Exemption from tax file number requirement, section 8A(7) Exemption from tax file number requirement

Policy reference: FA Guide 4.1.1.10 TFN Requirements for FTB

Notification of exemption

If a request for exemption from the TFN requirements is refused, the individual must be advised in writing, as the claim is ineffective if the TFN requirements are not met.

Policy reference: FA Guide 4.2.4.30 Claim Action 3 - TFN Not Provided

Claim for FTB under normal circumstances

There are no grounds for exempting the individual from providing their own TFN for a normal claim. The individual is required to make a TFN statement in order for the claim to be effective.

Exemption from providing partner's TFN statement

A TFN statement for the individual's partner or their former partner is not required if the individual cannot:

  • obtain the partner's TFN, or
  • obtain an authorisation from the partner for the ATO to provide the TFN.

Types of exemptions

TFN exemptions for FTB are grouped into 2 types as explained in the following table.

Type of Exemption Explanation
Indefinite

Appropriate where the reason the individual is unable to comply with the TFN requirement is not likely to change in the foreseeable future.

Possible reasons for an exemption include that the partner is:

  • violent (1.1.F.15) (referral to a social worker or ISO is required),
  • imprisoned for life,
  • seriously ill or disabled.

Example: Simone does not know her partner's TFN. He has a severe disability following an accident that prevents him from working again. He does not have any other source of income. It is not expected that he will ever have to lodge another tax return. An indefinite exemption may be granted.

Temporary

Appropriate where the individual is expected to be able to comply with the TFN requirements after a specified period for which exemption is granted.

Possible reasons for an exemption include that the partner is:

  • away from home for work or a holiday,
  • in prison with a known release date,
  • missing whereabouts unknown (if still missing after 12 months the exemption can be made indefinite).

Example: Jenny has made a claim for FTB. She does not know her partner's TFN, and he is overseas for 2 months. Jenny can be temporarily exempted from providing her partner's TFN, but she must still provide her own. A review date is set to follow up her partner's TFN upon his return to Australia.

Partner violent

An indefinite exemption can be granted in a case where an individual has a well based reason to believe that as a result of their request to the partner for TFN information:

  • the partner could become violent to the individual or a child (1.1.F.15), or
  • there would be other concerns for the safety or the health of the individual or a child.

Referral to a social worker or ISO is required for family violence exemptions.

Act reference: FA(Admin)Act section 8(7) Exemption from tax file number requirement

No exemption where TFN not required for tax purposes

There are no grounds for exempting the individual or their partner from having a TFN if it is only because they do not require it for tax purposes. They are required to obtain a TFN for FTB purposes.

Example: Mrs Johnson is an Australian citizen and claims FTB for her new baby. Her partner Mr Tekapoori is a New Zealand citizen living with her in Australia. He works for the New Zealand Department of Defence so is not required to pay Australian income tax. Mrs Johnson is not exempted from the requirement to provide her partner's TFN for FTB.

Partner's TFN - refusal to supply

An indefinite exemption is not granted in cases where there is merely a refusal on the part of the partner to provide the information and there are no violence or health concerns.

A referral should be made to a social worker or ISO for:

  • assistance for the individual, and
  • advice on the request for exemption.

Declining to provide a TFN statement is not an offence, but the applicant's FTB claim may not be effective or their FTB payment may cease to be payable if a TFN statement is not provided.

Bereavement claim

Where the individual is making a claim in substitution for a deceased person who was eligible for FTB, the individual is required to provide the TFN of the deceased person and the deceased person's partner.

Explanation: Eligibility for FTB for this type of claim is based on the circumstances of the deceased person, not the individual.

The deceased person's partner can satisfy the TFN requirement by making a TFN statement asking the ATO to notify the Secretary of the partner's TFN.

If the individual is unable to provide the deceased person's TFN, or the partner's TFN statement, an exemption from providing a TFN may be granted if:

  • it would be unduly difficult or distressing to the individual, or
  • distressing to the deceased person's partner.

If the deceased person was getting FTB by instalment or had previously made an effective past period claim (1.1.P.60) before their death, they will have already satisfied the TFN requirements. If the deceased person had not claimed FTB, the individual will be required to provide income details for the deceased person and their partner. In this case it is likely that the individual may also gain access to the TFNs.

Act reference: FA(Admin)Act section 8A(7) Exemption from tax file number requirement

Policy reference: FA Guide 4.1.1.10 TFN Requirements for FTB

Last reviewed: 8 May 2017