The Guides to Social Policy Law is a collection of publications designed to assist decision makers administering social policy law. The information contained in this publication is intended only as a guide to relevant legislation/policy. The information is accurate as at the date listed at the bottom of the page, but may be subject to change. To discuss individual circumstances please contact Services Australia. Gathering information relating to tax file numbers


Centrelink has the power to obtain from the Commissioner of Taxation information (including a TFN) about a person who has made an effective claim for PLP that is relevant to their claim and contained in a TFN declaration lodged with the Commissioner.

Purpose for which TFNs may be used

A TFN, provided under and for the purposes of the PPLAct by the claimant, their partner, or by the Commissioner of Taxation (on authority of the person, or when required by Centrelink), may be used only for the following purposes:

  • to detect cases where instalments of PLP have been paid when they should not have been paid, and
  • to verify in relation to persons who have made effective claims for PLP, the eligibility of those persons for that pay.

Privacy (Tax File Number) Rule 2015

The Privacy (Tax File Number) Rule 2015 (TFN Rule), made under the Privacy Act 1988 section 17, regulates the collection, storage, use, disclosure, security and disposal of individuals' TFN information.

A breach of the TFN Rule is an interference with privacy under the Privacy Act. Individuals who consider their TFN information has been mishandled may make a complaint to the Information Commissioner. Where a breach of privacy is very serious, the Information Commissioner may seek to impose a penalty.

As well as constituting a breach of the TFN Rule, unauthorised use or disclosure of TFNs may constitute an offence under the Taxation Administration Act 1953, with a maximum penalty of 100 penalty units or 2 years imprisonment, or both. The value of a penalty unit is published on the Australian Securities and Investments Commission’s website under Fines and Penalties.

Services Australia is an authorised recipient of TFN information for the purposes set out in the PPLAct.

More detailed information about privacy and the TFN Rule is available at the OAIC's website, and TFN queries or enquiries can be directed to the DSS Feedback and Complaints team using the following contact details:

  • Email:
  • Telephone: 1800 634 035
  • Post: DSS Feedback, GPO Box 9280, Canberra ACT 2601

Act reference: PPLAct section 123 Secretary may require Commissioner of Taxation to provide tax file numbers etc., section 124 Purposes for which tax file numbers may be used

Privacy (Tax File Number) Rule 2015

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