The Tax Office has confirmed it will be phasing out activity statements on the electronic lodgement service (ELS), and foresees a complete transition by the end of 2018, following a gradual shift to the PLS.
On 1 April, PLS became the only electronic channel to lodge individual tax returns, following a staggered implementation process since 1 April 2017 that has seen company tax returns, trust tax returns, SMSF annual returns, fund income tax returns, partnership returns, and FBT returns move over to the PLS.
“At this stage, we will confirm shortly with the tax agents, but we are looking at the end of this calendar year or around 15 December, just before the end of the calendar year, to finish that move for activity statements,” said ATO assistant commissioner Andrew Watson.
While BAS agents will still be able to lodge through the portals, Mr Watson has hinted at the “opportunities” that PLS and the corresponding work of software providers could bring to the bookkeeping community.
“A lot of efforts, unashamedly, to be able to retire ELS has been focused on the tax agent community but this platform also opens up opportunities for BAS agents as well,” said Mr Watson.
“Going through the BAS agent portal, there will be a way to lodge activity statements but I think keep your eye out for opportunities outside of just lodging an activity statement.
“Software might be able to create around that function to make better business processes. I think where we will see other real advantages of what we have all done to move to the PLS platform, will start to come out in the next couple of years,” he added.
“It will be of interest to see where the software and digital service provider market goes and what the different offerings are.”
Jotham Lian is the editor of Accountants Daily, the leading source of breaking news, analysis and insight for Australian accounting professionals.
Before joining the team in 2017, Jotham wrote for a range of national mastheads including the Sydney Morning Herald, and Channel NewsAsia.