Tax professionals community

Welcome

The Tax professionals community has been created to encourage open and interactive conversations about the future of the tax industry.

This community is for people working across the tax industry including tax agents, BAS agents, associations and software developers. It provides an avenue to connect with each other, to talk about issues and ideas for managing change.

My colleagues and I will also be contributing to these online discussions and listening to your feedback. We will regularly add new resources including videos, presentations and live debates to support conversations with your peers and your staff.

I encourage you to participate and look forward to hearing what you have to say.

Chris Jordan AO, Commissioner of Taxation

Registration is required to participate in online discussions.

Welcome

The Tax professionals community has been created to encourage open and interactive conversations about the future of the tax industry.

This community is for people working across the tax industry including tax agents, BAS agents, associations and software developers. It provides an avenue to connect with each other, to talk about issues and ideas for managing change.

My colleagues and I will also be contributing to these online discussions and listening to your feedback. We will regularly add new resources including videos, presentations and live debates to support conversations with your peers and your staff.

I encourage you to participate and look forward to hearing what you have to say.

Chris Jordan AO, Commissioner of Taxation

Registration is required to participate in online discussions.

  • Roadmap of change for tax professionals

    3 months ago

    A narrative for change

    The ATO (along with tax professional representatives and software developers) wants to support tax professionals through legislative and other changes by providing tax professionals with the right message, at the right time. The ATO strives to deliver consistent messages to tax professionals that align to the shared goal – building a better tax and superannuation system for all Australians.

    This narrative continues the messages communicated to tax professionals in 2015. It outlines the overarching story for 2016, highlighting the key changes and actions required.

    Representatives from the tax profession and other stakeholders have discussed... Continue reading

    A narrative for change

    The ATO (along with tax professional representatives and software developers) wants to support tax professionals through legislative and other changes by providing tax professionals with the right message, at the right time. The ATO strives to deliver consistent messages to tax professionals that align to the shared goal – building a better tax and superannuation system for all Australians.

    This narrative continues the messages communicated to tax professionals in 2015. It outlines the overarching story for 2016, highlighting the key changes and actions required.

    Representatives from the tax profession and other stakeholders have discussed and agreed to this narrative. It may be used by the ATO, software developers and professional associations for communications as required. The narrative is also available in our document library as a PDF booklet.

    Table of contents

    Background

    Focus areas for 2016 and beyond

    Providing services to tax professionals during Tax Time 2016

    What to expect this year for clients

    Improving the services and stability of Portal services

    Stay informed

    Background

    There has been a lot of conversation among tax professionals about how their operating environment and roles are changing. This is due to rapidly developing technology and shifting community expectations.

    Many tax professionals are changing how they operate, and the services they provide to meet their clients’ expectations. Changes include:
    • doing more electronically
    • offering new and different services to clients
    • embedding software into their practices, as well as assisting clients to use software to help manage their tax and financial affairs.
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    Focus areas for 2016 and beyond

    This year the ATO will focus on:
    1. providing services to tax professionals, particularly during Tax Time 2016, including changes to practice management software
    2. improving the services and stability of portal services
    3. preparing for future changes including
      • new services for software developers to build into practice management software
      • developing a new partnership framework.
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    Providing services to tax professionals during Tax Time 2016

    Tax time is an important time for tax professionals and their clients. The ATO wants to give tax professionals the support they need, and will work with professional associations and software providers. This year, dedicated support includes:
    • changes to practice management software
    • the Tax professionals alert – email subscription service
    • the Client communication list (CCL)
    • improvements to ato.gov.au and the online experience
    • information about ATO services and support for tax professionals
    • the Complex issue resolution service
    • Tax Agent Portal and BAS Agent Portal Dashboards
    • information about what tax professionals can expect this year for their clients
    • support for tax professionals with clients who choose to both self-serve and use an agent.

    Changes to practice management software

    Throughout the 2016–17 lodgment year, software will gradually upgrade to connect to the practitioner lodgment service (PLS).

    To ensure the transition is as smooth as possible, software developers will be transitioning their clients and offering the PLS throughout the year, rather than a mandate for everyone to switch on the same day.

    Some tax professionals have been using the PLS since June 2016, with more gradually transitioning to the PLS as part of software upgrades throughout 2016.

    The electronic lodgment service (ELS) will remain available until 31 March 2017 to ensure tax professionals have access to an online service. From this date, all software providers will need to have transitioned their clients to the PLS.

    This transition involves making software Standard Business Reporting (SBR) enabled. SBR is built into business and accounting software and incorporates standard terms used in government legislation and reporting.

    Software developers will tell tax professionals what they need to do as they transition from using the ELS to the PLS.

    Software providers are best-placed to provide their clients with this information, as the transition will be different for each software package. Additional time for training and other preparation may need to be set aside for changes or updates to system accesses.

    Software providers can access a number of ATO services and can choose individual services to build into their software. This includes high-demand and critical services, such as:

    • the individual income tax return and non-individual returns
    • some functions of the tax practitioner management reports suite
    • some client update functions
    • checking a client’s income tax lodgment status
    • activity statements.

    The PLS lays the foundation for significant future opportunities. Software providers will soon be able to add functionality to their software, allowing tax professionals to:

    • pre-fill individual income tax returns
    • add and remove clients
    • create additional reports
    • lodge applications for private rulings
    • arrange direct debit payments for income tax liabilities
    • request lodgment deferrals for clients.

    The ATO is working closely with software developers to ensure they have the information needed to make the necessary changes.

    Tax professionals will see some initial benefits when their software is upgraded to the PLS (depending on which features their software provider makes available).

    For example, tax professionals might be able to:

    • make client updates immediately – email addresses, mobile phone numbers and bank accounts
    • manage client PAYG withholding and GST roles
    • pre-fill individual tax returns easily with the most up-to-date information.

    Unanticipated issues often arise during system changes. The ELS will remain available until 31 March 2017 to ensure tax professionals have access to an online lodgment service. If there are any unexpected issues or changes the ATO and/or software developers will keep tax professionals informed and tell them what they need to do.

    This year, to minimise disruption during the transition, it will be even more important to read communications and follow all instructions from the ATO and software developers.

    For more information, visit ato.gov.au/pls.

    The Tax professionals alert – email subscription service

    Tax professionals told the ATO they wanted a modern alert system. Tax professionals can now subscribe to the Tax professionals alert emails or SMS to receive timely information when there are:
    • significant unplanned portal outages or functionality issues and when they are resolved (email and SMS)
    • other urgent issues that tax professionals need to know about (email only).

    The email alert service operates 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The SMS alert operates seven days a week, 9.00am–5.00pm EST.

    To subscribe to the Tax professionals alert services, visit ato.gov.au/tpalerts.

    The Client communication list (CCL)

    Using the Client communication list (CCL) on the Tax Agent and BAS Agent portals, tax professionals can access most communications issued to their clients, including those who have linked the ATO to their myGov account.


    The ATO continues to work closely with a number of tax professionals to enhance the design and improve the CCL. The latest update to the CCL occurred in in August 2016 and included publishing communication titles using plain English. This makes it easier for tax professionals to differentiate between communication types.

    The ATO continues to develop and co-design the service with the tax profession, so it works within a practice’s normal processes and supports the relationship between tax professionals and their clients.

    Additional information on the CCL is available at ato.gov.au/clientcommunicationlist.

    Improvements to ato.gov.au and the online experience

    The content and the search function on ato.gov.au will become easier for tax professionals to use as it is continuously reviewed and improved.

    Interacting with the ATO online is now easier, with improved mobile optimisation and interactive features such as ATOtv.

    For more information and to provide feedback on the ATO website, visit ato.gov.au/refresh.

    Information about ATO services and support for tax professionals

    Based on feedback, the ATO is providing updated information and additional support products.

    Tax professionals can now access:

    For help with transactions and information that is not available online, registered tax and BAS agents can use the Registered Agent phone line.

    See the most current Fast Key Code information at ato.gov.au/tpphoneguide.

    The Complex issue resolution service

    If tax professionals are unable to resolve a complex administrative or tax technical interpretation issue through ATO online channels, or by telephone, they can submit a query to the ATO’s Complex issue resolution service. The ATO aims to answer these queries within five working days.

    For more information on the Complex issue resolution service, visit ato.gov.au/complexissueresolution.

    Tax Agent Portal and BAS Agent Portal dashboards

    Tax professionals told the ATO they want a monitoring system to show when the portal is experiencing issues.

    The Tax Agent Portal Dashboard, released in October 2015, shows tax professionals, at a glance, if the portal is functioning normally or not. It works on near-real-time data sourced directly from ATO monitoring systems. A BAS Agent Portal Dashboard is also now available.

    The dashboard is in its second phase of release. Tax professionals will progressively be able to view additional status of services such as ‘File transfer’.

    View the Tax Agent Portal Dashboard at tap.status.ato.gov.au or via a link on the Tax Agent Portal welcome page.

    View the BAS Agent Portal Dashboard at basp.status.ato.gov.au or via a link on the BAS Agent Portal welcome page.

    Tax professionals can report portal or other system issues to 13 72 86 Fast Key Code 3 3. All issues reported to this number are directed to the ATO’s system support team for analysis.

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    What to expect this year for clients

    In 2016 the ATO is providing clients with:
    • improved services for individuals and businesses
    • support for tax professionals who have clients who choose to both self-serve and use an agent
    • SuperStream.

    Improved services for individuals and businesses

    Individuals and businesses are demanding the ability to self-serve, accessing services they can use at a convenient time and place, without contact with an ATO customer service representative.

    myGov and ATO online

    The ATO is offering new services in ATO online via myGov to help individuals and sole traders meet their tax and superannuation obligations.

    ATO online services means individuals and sole traders can:

    • receive electronic correspondence via their myGov inbox
    • view and update contact details
    • lodge, view and revise activity statements
    • manage PAYG instalments
    • make a payment for income tax or activity statements
    • create a payment plan for income tax or activity statements
    • view income tax and activity statement account balance and transactions
    • view study and training support loan account balance and transactions
    • see upcoming income tax and activity statement lodgment due dates.

    Visit ato.gov.au/onlineservices for more information.

    ATO app

    The ATO app has been developed to let individuals and small businesses access their tax and super information on the go. The ATO app includes a number of tools and calculators, including:

    • super guarantee contributions
    • business performance check
    • ABN Lookup
    • myDeductions
    • progress of return.

    Clients can use these tools and calculators to monitor their day-to-day super and tax affairs while seeking further professional advice and guidance. For example, the business performance check tool provides small business clients with a quick snapshot of the financial health of their business. It can also compare their performance to similar businesses in their industry. Based on this data, tax professionals can provide small business clients with guidance and advice about their business performance and cash flow.

    For more information, visit ato.gov.au/app.

    What is the difference between ATO online services and myGov?

    ATO online services is the suite of services offered by the ATO. Currently, these services are available to individuals and sole traders who create a myGov account and link to the ATO to manage their tax and superannuation affairs.

    myGov is a whole-of-government authentication solution, accessed via my.gov.au. It is essentially the front door to ATO online services. MyGov functionality currently includes the myGov inbox (for receiving notifications from linked agencies and departments) and the ‘tell us once’ function (allowing individuals to update certain details once, with the updated information shared between linked agencies and departments).

    Support for tax professionals with clients who choose to both self-serve and use an agent

    In consultation with the Future of the tax profession working group, the ATO is co-designing and developing functionality to ensure tax professionals have access to, and are aware of, changes their clients make in ATO online services via their myGov account.

    For example, the CCL gives tax professionals access to their clients’ communications.

    SuperStream

    SuperStream is the new electronic payment standard for the entire super industry. It provides a consistent, simplified way for employers to make super contributions on behalf of their employees.

    SuperStream is helping make the ‘back office’ operation of super funds more efficient. It affects business-to-business interactions from payroll and payment processing to member administration and workflow systems.

    Some small businesses said they need extra time and help to become SuperStream ready. To support these businesses, the ATO will take a flexible compliance approach until 28 October 2016, and will not take action against small businesses who missed the 30 June 2016 deadline. The ATO will continue to work to support small businesses in getting SuperStream ready.

    Tax professionals with business clients who still need to get ready for SuperStream can help them through the following simple steps:

    1. Choose an option
      Clients need to assess and choose the best option for their business. They can use their payroll system, super fund’s online system or a superannuation clearing house - such as the ATO’s Small Business Super clearing house. They must check that their chosen option is SuperStream-ready.

    2. Collect information
      Clients need to collect information from their employees and enter it into their system. This information includes an employee’s:
      • tax file number
      • super fund’s Australian Business Number
      • bank account details
      • unique super identifier.

        For employees with a self-managed super fund, employers also need the fund’s electronic service address.
    1. Start SuperStream
      Clients should start using SuperStream, as soon as possible. This will allow them to enjoy the benefits while ensuring everything is running smoothly.

    For further information to help educate and prepare business clients for SuperStream, visit ato.gov.au/SuperStreamchecklist.

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    Improving the services and stability of Portal services

    Portal services

    The portals are valuable tools, and the ATO will continue to offer this service. Recently the ATO consulted one-on-one with tax professionals to better understand the issues and irritants encountered when using the portal, and how the portals are used within practices. The ATO will progressively address known issues and concerns. Portal services, and other ATO online services will continually improve as the ATO invests in strengthening these offerings.

    New portal services will be built into the ATO online platform with the ATO online style and interface. Existing services will eventually be upgraded to the ATO online platform and interface, starting with priority portal services. The ATO will test ATO online services for tax professionals in 2016 so they are ready for Tax Time 2017.

    The improved tools and services will assist tax professionals to better manage their business practices and relationships, both with their clients and the ATO.

    To support tax professionals with the CCL and portal functionality, the ATO has started a program of ‘Digital services: show me what, show me how’ sessions at ATO Open forums in various metropolitan and regional centres.

    The ATO has released a number of videos demonstrating portal functions, to improve understanding of how the services can benefit clients and tax agents. View these on the atoTV tax professionals channel at tv.ato.gov.au.

    Preparing for future changes

    New services for software developers to build into practice management software

    The PLS provides a foundation for significant future opportunities. For example, software providers will be able to build portal services into their practice management software, so tax professionals will no longer need to switch between different systems.

    Authentication and authorisation

    It will become increasingly easier for tax professionals to transact with the ATO as known issues with AUSkey authentication are addressed. In some cases AUSkeys will not even need to be used. The ATO is not removing AUSkeys, however, alternative authentication options will be available.

    One of the alternative authentication options includes a cloud computing solution to streamline the way users of SBR-enabled online software interact with the ATO.

    Developing a new framework for working together

    As the role of the tax professional changes, the ATO, tax professionals and software developers will need to continue to adapt their relationship and how they work together. A new framework to set out how the ATO and the tax profession can continue to work together to support the community and further strengthen relationships will be beneficial.

    In July, a pilot project commenced to test how the ATO could work with the tax profession to tailor the lodgment program and in August, a second pilot commenced to test improved and integrated client profile views. In coming months, the ATO will work with the tax profession to pilot other new services.

    The ATO wants to hear tax professionals’ views and will continue to work together to pilot different options. During this time the ATO will keep all tax professionals informed to ensure opportunities to contribute and allow tax professionals to prepare for any changes as a result of the new framework.


    2016 and beyond

    In 2015 tax professionals and stakeholders were involved in developing a four-year plan of change with the ATO. This plan details what is changing, highlights when to act to minimise disruptions, and helps tax professionals prepare for changes that may impact them, their practice and their clients.

    These changes will:

    • create one place for tax professionals to interact with the ATO, with a single and secure entry point for online government services and information
    • make it easier through the use of integrated practice management software which can link to client software and the ATO
    • take into consideration individual circumstances and tailor engagement based on a tax professional’s situation and their clients’ preferences.

    These changes will also enable tax professionals to take advantage of new technology to improve systems and provide enhanced services to clients. In future, practice management software will be simplified, reducing the time and cost associated with collating information and submitting reports to government. It will be easier for tax professionals to interact with multiple government agencies and departments, as information already available through practice software will be ‘re-used’ to report to other government agencies.


    Single Touch Payroll (STP)

    The ATO is currently collaborating with stakeholders on Single Touch Payroll, which is among the significant changes planned for 2017 and beyond.

    In December 2015, the government announced that employer reporting of PAYGW obligations and super contributions will be simplified with the implementation of Single Touch Payroll.

    Single Touch Payroll will be implemented in phases, providing sufficient time for tax professionals and their business clients to adjust to the new reporting requirements.

    From 1 July 2017, all businesses will be able to start Single Touch Payroll reporting. However, from 1 July 2018 employers with 20 or more employees will be required to report to the ATO through SBR-enabled software (subject to successful passage of legislation). Through consultation with stakeholders, the ATO is investigating suitable solutions.

    A simulated pilot with small businesses will be held in late 2016 to early 2017. After completion of the pilot, the government will make a decision on timing for rolling out Single Touch Payroll reporting for employers with 19 or fewer employees.

    For further information, read the media release at kmo.ministers.treasury.gov.au/media-release/042-2015/

    More information regarding technical documents and the project status is available at http://softwaredevelopers.ato.gov.au/STP

    The tax professional practice

    With SBR, increasing digital interactions and the increasing ability for clients to self-serve, it is likely some future work of tax professionals will be more streamlined. Many tax professionals have already started taking advantage of technology and are exploring ways to improve processes for clients and establish their roles as strategic advisers.

    If tax professionals do not have access to the internet or fast broadband, they will have access to alternative options.

    The work of tax professionals will continue to be essential, but the needs and expectations of the community are already changing. Tax professionals need to identify what changes will be necessary, to ensure they are prepared for the future.

    When navigating these changes, it is important registered tax practitioners understand and continue to meet their obligations with the Tax Practitioners Board, including:

    • confidentiality of client information
    • managing conflicts of interest
    • reasonable care.
    For further information visit tpb.gov.au/Code

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    Stay informed

    In 2016 it is vital tax professionals keep up to date with changes and follow any instructions from their software providers.

    Tax professionals can find out the latest developments by:

    • subscribing to the weekly Tax professionals newsletter at ato.gov.au/tpnews
    • reading, listening and watching information from professional associations
    • reading and following instructions from software developers.

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  • Timeline of change for tax professionals

    11 months ago
    Updated October 2016

    Our recently updated timeline of change for tax professionals showcases improvements and new services we have delivered for you and your clients over the past few years, and changes we have planned for the near future.

    We’re committed to providing you a better client experience in your dealings with us. We want to make every year count, so you'll see a program of improvements being delivered now and in the years ahead.

    Email your timeline feedback to ATO-Taxagents@ato.gov.au

    Updated October 2016

    Our recently updated timeline of change for tax professionals showcases improvements and new services we have delivered for you and your clients over the past few years, and changes we have planned for the near future.

    We’re committed to providing you a better client experience in your dealings with us. We want to make every year count, so you'll see a program of improvements being delivered now and in the years ahead.

    Email your timeline feedback to ATO-Taxagents@ato.gov.au

  • Roadmap of change for tax professionals - text version

    8 months ago

    This Roadmap is designed for tax professionals to find out the latest information from the ATO, professional associations and software developers. Tax professionals can use this to understand what is changing in the tax profession, what they need to do and what support is available.

    This Roadmap will continue to be updated as we add new information or as timelines change.

    Date


    Event, activity or milestone

    Who is impacted

    2013

    October 21

    All the latest news for tax professionals in one place

    We launched the Tax professionals newsroom and newsletter. Tax professionals can access all the latest news in one... Continue reading

    This Roadmap is designed for tax professionals to find out the latest information from the ATO, professional associations and software developers. Tax professionals can use this to understand what is changing in the tax profession, what they need to do and what support is available.

    This Roadmap will continue to be updated as we add new information or as timelines change.

    Date


    Event, activity or milestone

    Who is impacted

    2013

    October 21

    All the latest news for tax professionals in one place

    We launched the Tax professionals newsroom and newsletter. Tax professionals can access all the latest news in one place and get a weekly summary in a new and improved newsletter.

    Visit the Tax professionals newsroom.

    Subscribe to the Tax professionals newsletter.

    Tax professionals

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    2014

    February

    Client declarations can now be made electronically

    As part of our move to provide digital services, we confirmed tax professionals can now make client declarations electronically.

    For more information, refer to Client declarations.

    Tax professionals

    March

    Obligations for tax professionals using cloud based software

    The Tax Practitioners Board Code of Professional Conduct - Confidentiality of client information sheet explains tax practitioner's obligations with regards to cloud based software.

    For more information, refer to the Tax Practitioners Board Code of Professional Conduct - Confidentiality of client information sheet.

    Tax professionals

    July 1

    myTax is launched

    Individuals with straight forward tax affairs now have the option to lodge their income tax return through myTax.

    Individuals

    July 1

    Tax Agent Services Act is amended to include financial planners

    Financial planners are now bound by the Tax Agent Services Act. The amendment includes financial planners who provide a ‘tax (financial) advice service’ for a fee. To make sure they can prepare for their obligations, the Tax Practitioners Board implemented a transitional period of three years.

    View the current Tax Agent Services Act 2009.

    Tax professionals

    October 29

    New BAS agent newsletter is made available

    We launched a BAS agent edition of the newsletter following feedback from BAS agents.

    Subscribe to the BAS agent newsletter.

    Tax professionals

    November 3

    Videos on the changes to practice management software to become Standard Business Reporting (SBR) enabled are released.

    We published videos, including an animation that provides a quick overview about the changes to practice management software and what it means for tax professionals.

    Watch the videos on the Tax professionals newsroom YouTube video playlist.

    Tax professionals

    November 17

    Our first live debate about changes in the tax profession is streamed online.

    We held a live discussion with panel members including a tax agent, BAS agent, industry association member and an ATO representative. This discussion was the first live panel discussion on the changes to the tax profession.

    It also provided an opportunity for tax professionals to ask questions and watch the panel members talking about current issues and changes.

    Watch a recording of the 17 November 2014 Tax professionals live webcast on portal and software changes.

    Tax professionals

    November 27

    A new and improved deferral form for tax professionals

    It is now easier for tax professionals to request lodgment deferrals for their clients via the new PDF form.

    For more information, refer to Lodgment deferrals – for registered agents.

    Tax professionals

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    2015

    February 17 – March 6

    Seeking feedback on the Single Touch Payroll concept

    Tax professionals and businesses had the opportunity to provide feedback on transition arrangements and the potential for employers to remit PAYGW and the Superannuation Guarantee at the same time employees are paid their salary and wages.

    For more information, refer to Have your say on Single Touch Payroll.

    Tax professionals

    Businesses

    March 18 – 20

    The Commissioner’s speech to the Tax Institute’s 30th national convention

    Read Commissioner Chris Jordan’s Reinventing the ATO speech to the Tax Insititute’s 30th national convention on Thursday 19 March 2015 at the Royal Pines Resort, Gold Coast.

    Tax professionals

    March 30

    Tax professionals are invited to participate in our second live streamed webcast – ‘What’s changing for tax professionals in 2015 and 2016’

    We held a live discussion with panel members including a tax and BAS agent, professional association member, industry association member and an ATO representative. The panel discussed changes in 2015 and 2016 which will create a foundation to transform the way you interact with your clients and us, and explored how the expectations of both clients and tax professionals are changing.

    It also provided an opportunity for tax professionals to ask questions and watch the panel members talking about current issues and changes.

    Watch a recording of the 30 March 2015 Tax professionals live webcast: What's changing for tax professionals in 2015 and 2016?

    Tax professionals

    April

    The Client communication list is launched

    Tax professionals’ clients that have a myGov account linked to the ATO will receive some communications from us electronically in their myGov Inbox..

    Tax professionals can now access electronic copies of these communications through the Client communication list function in the Tax Agent Portal.

    For more information refer to Client communication list.

    Tax professionals

    April

    Income tax risk report for privately owned groups and wealthy individual clients

    For the largest privately owned and wealthy groups we've introduced an income tax risk report that sets out our view of their level of risk. The report will be available through tax assurance conversations and engagements.

    For more information, visit Income tax risk report.

    Privately owned and wealthy groups

    April 30

    Tax professionals are invited to participate in our live streamed webcast – ‘BAS agents and what changes will affect you’

    We held a live discussion with panel members including BAS agents, a professional association member, Tax Practitioners Board member and an ATO representative. The panel discussed important issues such as changes and trends that professional associations are seeing, the role of BAS agents and bookkeepers and how this will look in the future, and the Tax Practitioners Board's view on registration requirements and continuing professional education.

    It also provided an opportunity for tax professionals to ask questions and watch the panel members talking about current issues and changes.

    Watch a recording of the 30 April 2015 Tax professionals live webcast: BAS agents and what changes will affect you.

    Tax professionals

    May 12

    2015–16 Federal budget released

    The Treasurer, the Hon. Joe Hockey MP, has delivered the 2015-16 Federal Budget. Information specific for tax professionals includes reducing red tape, information on the Digital Transformation Office, compliance and tax laws.

    Visit the 2015 Budget website for more information.

    Tax professionals

    May 12

    The Digital Transformation Office is established

    As part of the 2015 Budget, the Government is investing $254.7 million in the Digital Transformation Agenda to drive innovation and make it easier for individuals and businesses to access government services.

    Read Investing in digital transformation.

    Visit the Digital Transformation Office website

    May 18

    Tax professionals are invited to participate in our live streamed webcast – ‘What is the future role of tax professionals?’

    We held a live discussion with panel members including a representative of a professional association, a software developer, a tax agent and a BAS agent. The panel discussed topics such as what the future role will look like and what trends may affect tax professionals, including changes in practice management software.

    It also provided an opportunity for tax professionals to ask questions and watch the panel members talking about current issues and changes.

    Watch a recording of the 18 May 2015 Tax professionals live webcast: What is the future role of tax professionals?.

    Tax professionals

    June

    Software developers will be able to build reports, private rulings and direct debits into your software

    Tax professionals’ software providers will now be able to make reports, private rulings, and direct debits available in tax professionals software. Software developers will also be able to include the ability for tax professionals to make bulk updates and deletions to client lists.

    Software developers

    July

    Resolving disputes

    If a dispute arises with a client, tax professionals can work with an independent officer in the ATO, who will engage with them in resolving the matter quickly and cooperatively.

    For more information visit Resolving disputes.

    Tax professionals

    July

    Knowing what is changing and getting involved

    Tax professionals know what is changing in 2015–16 for them and what support is available through better engagement and communication.

    For more information, visit the Services and support

    Tax professionals

    July

    Expanded alert services

    Tax professionals can choose to receive email alerts and/or SMS about critical issues.

    For more information visit Tax professionals alerts.

    Tax professionals

    July

    Online services and the ATO app for sole traders and businesses

    Sole traders can use online services and the ATO app without an AUSkey to:

    view, lodge, revise and pay activity statements

    manage and pay pay as you go instalments

    view income tax and activity statement accounts and balances

    view lodgment history.

    Tax professionals and their small business clients can compare how the business is performing against similar business in their industry in the ATO app.

    For more information, visit Individuals and sole traders and ATO app.

    Small businesses

    July

    Making super easier for small business

    Small businesses can now pay all super contributions at once to the Small Business Superannuation Clearing House if their annual aggregated turnover is less than $2m or they have 19 or fewer employees.

    For more information visit Using the Small Business Superannuation Clearing House.

    Small businesses

    July

    Employee super is important

    If a business has made a mistake or paid superannuation guarantee late for their employees the ATO will help them get back on track.

    Businesses can save time using SuperStream to pay super for their employees.

    For more information visit Our compliance approach.

    Small businesses

    July

    myTax changes

    Individuals can now use myTax to lodge their income tax return when they have a superannuation pension or income from managed investment funds.

    Individuals are only asked questions relevant to them.

    Individuals

    July

    Managing my tax online and new online services for individuals

    Individuals can use their myGov account to:

    view and pay my income tax assessment

    manage and pay my pay as you go instalments

    view my lodgment history

    view the balance of my account including income tax and pay as you go instalments

    Individuals can lodge my tax return for last year, amend this year’s tax return and claim franking credits through myGov.

    For more information visit Individuals and sole traders

    Individuals

    July

    Individuals can capture deductions ‘on the go’

    Individuals can now use the ATO app to capture their tax deductions including motor vehicle expenses on the go and will be able to upload it to their tax return or send it to their tax agent in July 2016.

    For more information visit myDeductions.

    Individuals

    July

    Improved tax governance for public businesses

    Public businesses and their tax advisers have access to a self-review guide to help their business evaluate their strategic and operational tax risk identification and governance framework.

    For more information visit Good tax governance

    Public businesses

    July

    The value of conversation with privately owned and wealthy groups

    The ATO’s level of risk assessment will be shared with the largest privately owned and wealthy groups and their tax advisers through one-on-one conversations.

    For more information visit Excellent working relationships

    Privately owned and wealthy groups

    July

    Certainty around tax for privately owned and wealthy groups

    Privately owned and wealthy groups and their tax advisers may be told that their income tax affairs for past years will not be subject to further review because the ATO has determined they have a low level of risk.

    Privately owned and wealthy groups

    July

    Early engagement on advice for privately owned and wealthy groups

    Privately owned and wealthy groups, or their advisers, can talk to the ATO early about complex transactions or arrangements to get the certainty they need.

    For more information visit Engage with us for advice

    Privately owned and wealthy groups

    August

    A user-friendly website

    Tax professionals and their clients will find it easier to search, navigate and understand the information and services on the ATO website.

    For more information visit A better online experience.

    October

    Getting large infrastructure projects right

    Public businesses and their tax advisers can access and use a framework or tailored services to get timely and detailed tax guidance before entering into major privatisation and infrastructure transactions.

    For more information visit Infrastructure – Australian federal tax framework

    Public businesses

    November

    Income tax assurance notifications for privately owned groups

    To help provide certainty to privately owned groups, we will issue an income tax assurance notification if their income tax risk is low.

    For more information, visit Income tax assurance notification

    Privately owned and wealthy groups

    Back to top

    2016

    January

    Reduced reliance on AUSKey

    Cloud software providers can make it easier for tax professionals to authenticate with less reliance on AUSKey.

    For more information visit Cloud software authentication and authorisation.

    Software developers

    January

    Simplifying transfer pricing record keeping

    Public businesses and their tax advisers can review a guide which explains how they may be eligible to minimise some of their record - keeping and compliance costs whilst complying with the Division 815 transfer pricing rules.

    For more information visit New simplified transfer pricing record keeping options

    Public businesses

    February

    Consultation on portal and practice management software

    Tax professional associations, software developers and the ATO will work together on improvements to the portal and practice management software.

    Read about what we want to achieve at Reinventing the ATO.

    Tax professionals

    February

    Getting the most out of the portal and practice management software

    Tax professionals have the information they need to use the features of the portal and their practice management software.

    Read about what we want to achieve at Reinventing the ATO.

    Tax professionals

    March

    Tax professionals encouraged to start preparing for the practitioner lodgment service (PLS)

    The practitioner lodgment service (PLS) is replacing the electronic lodgment service (ELS) as the primary lodgment channel. PLS lodgments will need to be made using Standard Business Reporting (SBR)-enabled software.

    From July 2016 this service will become our main lodgment channel, gradually replacing the ELS.

    Tax professionals should contact their software provider for more information.

    For more information visit Practitioner lodgment service.

    Tax professionals

    March 2 – 4

    The Commissioner’s speech to the Tax Institute’s 31st national convention

    Read Commissioner Chris Jordan’s Building trust and confidence in our tax system speech to the Tax Institute’s 31st national convention on Thursday 3 March 2015 in Melbourne..

    Tax professionals

    March 31

    Cloud authentication and authorisation makes it easier for you to transact with us, with less reliance on AUSkey.

    Businesses and tax professionals who use SBR-enabled online (cloud) software now have a more streamlined way to authenticate and interact with us and other government agencies.

    These businesses and tax professionals need to notify us once of their online software provider's hosted Standard Business Reporting (SBR) software and start using their dedicated Device AUSkey to secure transmissions with us made via the online software.

    For more information visit Cloud software authentication and authorisation.

    Tax professionals

    April

    Client communication list (CCL) functionality improved

    In response to feedback we have improved functionality of the CCL in the Tax Agent Portal. Improvements include:

    search results can be sorted by date or client name

    searches can be customised for more than one delivery type

    the screens will have a new look that is easier to read and use

    up to five years of correspondence can be searched for a single client.

    Visit Client Communication List for more information.

    Tax professionals

    April

    Client communication list (CCL) now available on the BAS Agent Portal

    You told us and we listened. The CCL functionality has been improved on the Tax Agent Portal and expanded to the BAS Agent Portal.

    For more information visit Client Communication List.

    Tax professionals

    May

    Fuel tax credit eligibility tool, calculator and practical compliance guidelines for businesses

    Tax professionals and their business clients can use our fuel tax credit tools to find out if your business is eligible for fuel tax credits and to help you work out the amount you can claim. The guidelines provide some acceptable, practical methodologies for apportioning taxable fuel to meet their fuel tax credit obligations.

    For more information, visit Fuel tax credit tools and Practical Compliance Guidelines - PCG 2016/8 - Fuel Tax Credits - apportioning fuel for fuel tax credits.

    Tax professionals

    May

    Understanding the tax professional role in the future

    Tax professionals understand the changing environment, what they need to do to support their clients and be a partner in the tax and super systems.

    Read about what we want to achieve at Reinventing the ATO.

    Tax professionals

    June

    Are your clients SuperStream ready?

    SuperStream is the new electronic payment standard for the entire superannuation industry. It provides a consistent, simplified way for employers to make super contributions on behalf of their employees.

    Small employers, with 19 or fewer employees, must be SuperStream-ready by no later than 30 June 2016, but we recommend they start implementing now. Employers with 20 or more employees should now be SuperStream-ready.

    Visit ato.gov.au/SuperStreamchecklist for more information.

    Tax professionals

    June

    Tax governance guide for privately owned groups

    Tax professionals and their privately owned group clients can now use the Tax governance for privately owned groups guide to help them develop a governance framework to identify, assess and mitigate their tax risk.

    For more information, visit Tax governance for privately owned groups

    Privately owned and wealthy groups

    June

    Improved access to government online services for small business

    Small businesses can now use online services more easily to do their tax and super by logging in with their myGov account to access services on behalf of their company, partnership or trust.

    They can:

    link all their business ABNs to their personal myGov account

    view, lodge and pay their business activity statement online without using AUSkey.

    For more information visit Manage ABN Connections

    Small businesses

    June

    Single Touch Payroll - guidelines release, taxonomy and exposure draft for comment from solution providers

    The Single Touch Payroll guidelines and taxonomy were released late this month. In addition, the exposure draft has been shared for comment.

    For more information visit Single Touch Payroll (STP) - Status

    Tax professionals

    June

    Self-assessing compliance risk associated with marketing hubs

    We can access a guide to help self-assess the transfer pricing risk associated with our marketing hub arrangements.

    Public businesses

    June

    More certainty of eligible exploration expenditure

    We have access to a guide to assist in identifying eligible exploration expenditure and the evidence required to substantiate our claims.

    July

    Talking more with tax professionals

    Tax professionals are increasingly able to talk to ATO staff at open forums, professional associations and software developer events.

    For more information visit Open forums.

    Tax professionals

    July

    Knowing what is changing and getting involved

    Tax professionals know what is changing for them in 2016–17 and what support is available to help them.

    For more information, visit Services and support.

    Tax professionals

    July 2016 – March 2017

    The practitioner lodgment service (PLS) becomes our primary lodgment channel

    The practitioner lodgment service (PLS) is the name we use to describe the channel which is now our main electronic lodgment channel. The software you use in your practice will be progressively updated to make it ready for this. This channel will gradually replace the old ELS.

    The ELS will remain available until 31 March 2017 to ensure tax professionals have access to an online service.

    Tax professionals will be supported in using the Practitioner Lodgment Service for forms, services and schedules.

    For more information visit Practitioner lodgment service.

    Tax professionals

    July 2016 – March 2017

    A simpler BAS experience

    Tax professionals or their business clients may be asked to test the simpler BAS, This is designed to reduce the required amount of GST record keeping by having fewer GST labels to complete.

    For more information visit Simpler BAS.

    Tax professionals

    July

    Improving public advice and guidance

    Tax professionals can easily find relevant and up –to-date public advice and guidance on the ATO website and the legal database.

    See what’s in the pipeline for the Legal Database – take a tour.

    Tax professionals

    July

    MyTax replaces e-tax from 1 July 2016.

    Individuals and sole traders who complete their own return can use myTax to prepare and lodge their 2015-16 tax return. They can use new online tools to record events and transactions for depreciation and capital gains tax throughout the year, to pre-fill their tax return.

    For more information visit MyTax replaces e-tax.

    Individuals

    July

    MyDeductions in the ATO app

    Individuals can pre-fill their 2015-16 tax return with the deductions they have captured in the ATO App, or send this data directly to their tax agent.

    For more information visit myDeductions.

    Individuals

    July

    Tailored information for private groups on ato.gov.au

    Tax advisers, their privately owned group clients and wealthy individual clients can now use the Private Groups option under the Business tab on the ATO website to find more specific information and services.

    For more information visit Privately owned and wealthy groups

    Privately owned and wealthy groups

    July

    New Public Business taxpayer alerts

    Public business clients will start to receive regular alerts warning them of the ATO’s concerns about new or emerging higher risk tax arrangements so they are in a better position to make informed decisions, This will provide certainty on how the law will apply to their circumstances.

    For more information visit Taxpayer alerts

    Public businesses

    July

    Tailored compliance engagement for public businesses

    Public businesses and their advisers will be able to easily self-assess and resolve tax risks prior to lodgment.

    For more information visit Tailored engagement

    Public businesses

    August

    Depreciation made easier for public businesses

    Tax agents and their public business clients can work out depreciation claims online using the Depreciation and Capital Allowances Tool. The tool will incorporate an effective life lookup and will allow them to work out depreciation claims for all assets, including any assets sitting in a low value pool.

    Public businesses

    September

    Corporate tax governance review guide for public businesses

    Public businesses and their tax advisers have access to guidance to assist in evaluating the design, effectiveness and benchmarking of their tax risk management and governance framework. Company directors have access to an online Director’s Handbook.

    For more information visit Tax risk management and governance review guide

    Public businesses

    September

    Implementation of multinational anti-avoidance law (MAAL)

    Public businesses and their advisers understand the impact of this law change on their operations and, where needed, have transitioned to compliant arrangements with their foreign group.

    Public businesses

    September

    New ways to get assistance digitally

    Taxpayers can chat with an ATO staff member through web chat. If they need help, they can share their screen with an ATO staff member to quickly resolve the issue

    September

    Managing small business’ cash flow

    Small businesses or their agent can use a cash flow management education package to help better plan and manage business commitments including tax and super.

    Small businesses

    September

    Small business record keeping through the ATO app

    Small businesses can use the ATO app to record their business income and expenses on the go. They can provide this information to their agent or upload this to the ATO.

    Small businesses

    September

    SMSF certainty

    Tax advisers and their SMSF clients have a new way to approach the ATO to talk about serious SMSF compliance issues and have these quickly resolved.

    Tax professionals

    September 27

    Royal Assent for Single Touch Payroll

    The Budget Savings (Omnibus) Bill 2016 received Royal Assent on Friday 16 September 2016.

    The proposed changes will streamline the way employers report some tax and superannuation information to us.

    For more information visit Single Touch Payroll and Budget Savings Omnibus Bill 2016.

    Tax professionals

    Businesses

    October

    Increased certainty through safe harbours

    Private groups and their advisers have increased certainty around tax and super issues because the ATO provides clear boundaries in the application of tax and superannuation law.

    Privately owned and wealthy groups

    October

    Expansion of certainty letters for individual clients

    Tax agents or their individual clients may be told that their income tax affairs for the past year will not be subject to further review. This means the taxpayer can have certainty that their tax affairs for that year are complete.

    Tax professionals

    6 October 2016

    Open forums – talk to us about what matters to you, Hervey Bay QLD

    If you live in the Hervey Bay region, come along to our Open forum to hear about matters of key importance to you. You’ll also have the opportunity to have your questions addressed by our senior staff.

    Visit ato.gov.au/openforums for more information.

    Tax professionals

    12 October 2016

    Open forums – talk to us about what matters to you, Hornsby NSW

    If you live in the Hornsby region, come along to our Open forum to hear about matters of key importance to you. You’ll also have the opportunity to have your questions addressed by our senior staff.

    Visit ato.gov.au/openforums for more information.

    Tax professionals

    13 October 2016

    Open forums – talk to us about what matters to you, Healesville VIC

    If you live in Healesville, come along to our Open forum to hear about matters of key importance to you. You’ll also have the opportunity to have your questions addressed by our senior staff.

    Visit ato.gov.au/openforums for more information.

    Tax professionals

    19 October 2016

    Open forums – talk to us about what matters to you, Richmond VIC

    If you live in Richmond, come along to our Open forum to hear about matters of key importance to you. You’ll also have the opportunity to have your questions addressed by our senior staff.

    Visit ato.gov.au/openforums for more information.

    Tax professionals

    25 October 2016

    Open forums – talk to us about what matters to you, Murray Bridge SA

    If you live in the Murray Bridge region, come along to our Open forum to hear about matters of key importance to you. You’ll also have the opportunity to have your questions addressed by our senior staff.

    Visit ato.gov.au/openforums for more information.

    Tax professionals

    26 October 2016

    Open forums – talk to us about what matters to you, Brisbane QLD

    If you live in Brisbane, come along to our Open forum to hear about matters of key importance to you. You’ll also have the opportunity to have your questions addressed by our senior staff.

    Visit ato.gov.au/openforums for more information.

    Tax professionals

    November

    Self-assessing compliance risk associated with marketing hubs

    Public businesses can access a guide to help self-assess the transfer pricing risk associated with our marketing hub arrangements.

    Public businesses

    November

    More certainty of eligible exploration expenditure

    We have access to a guide to assist in identifying eligible exploration expenditure and the evidence required to substantiate our claims

    2 November 2016

    Open forums – talk to us about what matters to you, Perth WA

    If you live in Perth, come along to our Open forum to hear about matters of key importance to you. You’ll also have the opportunity to have your questions addressed by our senior staff.

    Visit ato.gov.au/openforums for more information.

    Tax professionals

    8 November 2016

    Open forums – talk to us about what matters to you, Canberra ACT

    If you live in Canberra, come along to our Open forum to hear about matters of key importance to you. You’ll also have the opportunity to have your questions addressed by our senior staff.

    Visit ato.gov.au/openforums for more information.

    Tax professionals

    17 November 2016

    Open forums – talk to us about what matters to you, Frankston VIC

    If you live in Frankston, come along to our Open forum to hear about matters of key importance to you. You’ll also have the opportunity to have your questions addressed by our senior staff.

    Visit ato.gov.au/openforums for more information.

    Tax professionals

    29 November 2016

    Open forums – talk to us about what matters to you, Coffs Harbour NSW

    If you live in Coffs Harbour, come along to our Open forum to hear about matters of key importance to you. You’ll also have the opportunity to have your questions addressed by our senior staff.

    Visit ato.gov.au/openforums for more information.

    Tax professionals

    29 November 2016

    Open forums – talk to us about what matters to you, Hobart TAS

    If you live in Hobart, come along to our Open forum to hear about matters of key importance to you. You’ll also have the opportunity to have your questions addressed by our senior staff.

    Visit ato.gov.au/openforums for more information.

    Tax professionals

    30 November 2016

    Open forums – talk to us about what matters to you, Tamworth NSW

    If you live in Tamworth, come along to our Open forum to hear about matters of key importance to you. You’ll also have the opportunity to have your questions addressed by our senior staff.

    Visit ato.gov.au/openforums for more information.

    Tax professionals

    December

    Improving access to government online services for businesses

    Businesses can nominate other representatives to act on behalf of their entity(s), in full or limited capacity

    Small Businesses

    December

    Small business record keeping

    Small businesses can use the ATO app to record their business income and expenses on the go. They can provide this information to their tax agent or upload this to the ATO.

    Small businesses

    1 December 2016

    Open forums – talk to us about what matters to you, Devonport TAS

    If you live in Devonport, come along to our Open forum to hear about matters of key importance to you. You’ll also have the opportunity to have your questions addressed by our senior staff.

    Visit ato.gov.au/openforums for more information.

    Tax professionals

    6 December 2016

    Open forums – talk to us about what matters to you, Parramatta NSW

    If you live in Parramatta, come along to our Open forum to hear about matters of key importance to you. You’ll also have the opportunity to have your questions addressed by our senior staff.

    Visit ato.gov.au/openforums for more information.

    Tax professionals

    Back to top

    2017

    March 31

    The electronic lodgment service (ELS) will remain available until 31 March 2017

    For more information visit Practitioner lodgment service.

    Tax professionals

    Back to top


  • Roadmap of change for tax professionals

    almost 2 years ago
    This Roadmap is designed for tax professionals to find out the latest information from the ATO, professional associations and software developers, to assist them with the changes and understand their future roles.

    If you have questions or feedback leave a comment below, or if you would like to add information to the Roadmap, please email ATO-Taxagents@ato.gov.au


    This Roadmap is designed for tax professionals to find out the latest information from the ATO, professional associations and software developers, to assist them with the changes and understand their future roles.

    If you have questions or feedback leave a comment below, or if you would like to add information to the Roadmap, please email ATO-Taxagents@ato.gov.au


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