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 or DAPP 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 PPL paid 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, and
  • to detect cases in which DAPP has been paid when it should not have been paid, or
  • to verify, in relation to persons who have made effective claims for DAPP, 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 an $18,000 fine (100 penalty units) or 2 years imprisonment, or both.

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: complaints@dss.gov.au
  • 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

Last reviewed: 21 September 2020