TFN verification ensures that the TFN supplied by the student to the provider and submitted to TCSI matches student details at the ATO. The ATO verifies the TFNs supplied through TCSI against the details they have for the student.
Students are required to provide their TFN, or a Certificate of application for a TFN, on or before the census date to obtain a HELP loan or VET Student Loan or prior to the loan incurral date of a SA-HELP or OS-HELP loan.
TCSI will attempt to verify newly reported TFN details and will provide feedback to providers if the TFN has not been verified by the ATO through notifications.
System Re-triggering (where verification has failed)
Any TFNs not verified due to a mismatch in TCSI are re-checked nightly for up to 12 weeks. When the 12 week period has finished, a final notification is provided advising that the verification process has failed and ceased for the student. The final notification message reads:
“TFN unmatched and verification period has concluded – TFN will need to be re-reported to recommence verification period”
This 12 week verification cycle should give providers and students sufficient time to resolve the mismatch. Further guidance will be provided around re-triggering verification after the 12 week period has concluded.
System Re-triggering (where new data has been reported)
The student’s TFN will be sent for verification if any of their personal information is updated by the provider. TCSI will also re-verify the TFN before sending loans and loan reversals to the ATO. This ensures that the details remain aligned between TCSI and the ATO, and the correct student is receiving the loan or loan re-credit. Loan transfers will be blocked if the TFN fails to verify.
Regular TFN verification means that a previously verified TFN can later be identified as a mismatch. This situation would apply when a student has updated their details at the ATO and failed to update their provider.
A provider can review their TFN verification errors in TCSI Analytics. The TCSI Analytics TFN Verification report lists students whose TFN details failed verification. Where there is a related debt record for the student it will not be sent to the ATO until the TFN is successfully verified.
You can also access Provider notifications reports in TCSI Analytics. Using this report, you can drill through to see a list of TFN notifications returned by TCSI. This report also provides student identifiers and name details so the student can be identified.
To protect sensitive information, the notification messages do not pinpoint the specific data causing the mismatch. The Notifications page contains a list of TFN notification messages and the appropriate actions to resolve issues.
Providers can perform an API GET call on the student record or open the record in TCSI Data Entry to check the verification status of a TFN in near real-time. There are 4 types of masked TFN responses:
an empty space means TCSI does not have a TFN for the student
######### means TCSI has a TFN and it is verified
OOOOOOOOO means TCSI is in the process of trying to verify the TFN with the ATO
XXXXXXXXX means TCSI has a TFN but it has failed verification checking
Providers should obtain a TFN from students seeking to access a HELP and/or VSL loan and report this data along with key identifying data as soon as possible after the student is admitted into a new course of study.
Students are the owners of their personal information and are the authoritative source for their name details. Providers will need to check with their students to ensure their personal details, including TFN, have been reported correctly to the ATO and their provider.
A TFN mismatch guide is available for you to share with students to help them understand why they must provide a TFN, what happens if the TFN is not valid or verified and what the student needs to do to ensure that the TFN they are supplying can be verified.
Students can manage their details using their myGov account to access ATO online services. If students have difficulties using ATO online, they can contact the ATO Individual enquiries line on
13 28 61.
The 'TFN mismatch - Factsheet for students' guide below, provides student specific information, tips, and answers to commonly asked questions to assist in resolving TFN mismatch issues at their education provider.
Tax File Number (TFN) mismatch - Information for students
Loan repayments are made through the tax system, students need to provide a TFN when they request access to a Higher Education Loan Program (HELP) loan or a VET Student Loan.
If the student does not already have a TFN it is important that they apply to the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) for a TFN as soon as possible. Students should aim to have their TFN before they enrol to ensure they can access a loan for their studies.
If a student does not have a TFN when they enrol, a student can get provisional access to a loan if they supply a Certificate of Application for a TFN to the provider. This is given to the student by the ATO when they apply for a TFN.
The student must supply their TFN to their education provider as soon as they receive it from the ATO. If they do not supply their TFN within the time period specified by the education provider, their enrolment will be cancelled.