New online services bring "significant change" for tax agents, says ATO

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New online services bring "significant change" for tax agents, says ATO

The ATO has invited some tax and BAS agents to start using its new "Online services" system.

The ATO is asking Australian tax and BAS agents for feedback about the new system they will use to access services currently provided via the ATO’s tax and BAS agent portals.

The ATO announced this week that it had started giving some tax and BAS agents access to the “Online Services” system, which is in a public beta phase.

It plans to grant agents access to the system gradually from mid-January until the end of March 2019. It will notify agents via email when they have access.

The ATO says the new system will be a “significant change” for tax and BAS agents. The ATO promises Online services will provide greater visibility and control of practice and client data. That includes clients’ tax return histories, super details, lodgement program performance and payment plans.

Key features of the new Online services include (text from ATO web site):

  • When accessing a client record, you will see a list of your clients' main outstanding obligations that need actioning.
  • View and print a summary of all ATO accounts held by your clients, including the balance and overdue amount in one place. This includes accounts that are not visible in the portals, such as Superannuation Guarantee Employer Obligation.
  • Access details of your clients' processed tax returns from 2010 onwards, even if you didn't prepare or lodge the return. Return schedules will not be displayed.
  • Check and monitor the progress of your client's tax return in real time without needing to contact us.
  • See how you are tracking with your 85% on-time lodgement performance (updated each Sunday) and access two years of performance statistics.
  • See a consolidated view of all your individual clients' super funds and balances, including the breakdown of their total super balance as at the last reporting date. This real time information gives you visibility of all super related accounts in the ATO, including ATO held super.

The ATO took feedback about the existing portals into account when creating the new system.

It also recruited tax and BAS agents from regional and city practices, including sole practitioners and agents in large firms, to test the new system.

Agents' access to Online services functions will depend on the services they provide and their Access Manager permissions.

The ATO will keep the tax and BAS agent portals available while Online Services is in beta.

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