Amateur Accountability from the Queensland Government

Michael Moore: January 25 2021

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Recently a Victorian Accountant needed to lodge a Payroll Tax for her Queensland client and dutifully contacted the OSR ((OSR Online is Queensland's online system for state taxes, royalty and duties) in order to do so.

The response, by email, started off well:

“I recognise you are lodging Payroll Tax, and have concerns that your identity does not have anything to do with those lodgements. There have been many updates around accessing personal and business records held by State Government, and related processes surrounding gaining access to Government records has needed to be updated.”

Fair enough. It went on to say,

“Government departments are subject to a variety of laws and regulations in administering services for the public. These laws and regulations change, and so processes must change with them over time. As we transition away from OSRconnect these updates have been implemented in our new system- OSR Online. In July 2019 the Australian Privacy Laws were amended to cover data collection and use by digital platforms. As a provider of digital platforms, we collect information that is required to meet our requirements under this law.”

And it went on to list those requirements. Then surprise, surprise, instead of advising that the accountant set up a log in on the OSR website which would have been the secure thing to do, instead asked this:

“If you would like to reply to this email and attach copies of two forms of identification and we can finalize the registration process for your OSR Online account. The types of identification accepted are:

· Passport

· Birth certificate

· Drivers Licence

· Medicare Card

· Any other Government issued identification card”

Instead of asking the accountant to register with a log in, the accountant was astounded that the person would ask for this information with a lack of security and willingness to set up a Payroll Tax on the basis of an unsecured email (which could easily have been fake). I wonder how many ‘pretend’ Payroll Tax and other official file numbers have been set up this way. Is the Queensland government a dubious offshore company now?

Accountability seems to have been lost. The drum beat of, “I am not responsible. It has nothing to do with me.” seems to be the order of the day.

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