A public officer is a company's representative to the ATO and is responsible for the company's obligations under Section 252 of the INCOME TAX ASSESSMENT ACT 1936. The public officer is responsible for the company complying with the act and is also liable for the same penalties as the company if there are any violations.
A company only ever has one public officer who needs to be:
The public officer does not need to be a director of the company though they often are.
A public officer does not need to be appointed as part of the company formation. However, the ATO must be notified of the appointment within 3 months of the new company carrying on a business or deriving income. The penalties for not doing this are severe and currently amount to $110 a day.
Ordinarily a resolution is passed at a meeting of the directors appointing the public officer. The person in question needs to sign a form consenting to act as the company's public officer. This form should be stored with the company records. Once consent has been obtained a 'Notice of appointment of public officer' needs to be sent to the ATO informing them of the appointment.
eCompanies provides a template 'Notice of appointment of public officer' in its documentation pack to clients. If you are a client and don't have one, login to the Client Area and redownload the documentation pack for your company to obtain one.
If the person acting as public officer changes the ATO must be notified within 28 days of the change.
To find the mailing address to send the notification to please check the contact us by mail section at the ATO website.