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Online lodgement deferral system a hit with users, ATO says


All applications must now been done via the office website and most agents had already switched over prior to the deadline.

By Philip King 9 minute read

Tax agents have been “blown away” by how easy the revised lodgement deferral system is to use, according to feedback shared by the ATO and applications using the old method were falling away dramatically prior to the changeover date of 1 October.

It said more than 10,000 agents had adopted the new deferral function since its launch in April and the number submitting old spreadsheet applications decreased from 1,900 at the end of June to just 370 at September, with some agents using both methods.

Last week the ATO said it was dismantling what remained of the old process.

“Following the successful implementation of the lodgement deferral function in Online Services for Agents and the removal of phone deferrals, the ATO is now taking the final step to decommission the old process,” a spokesperson said.

“We are removing ATO-assessed, agent-assessed and new or re-engaged lodgement deferral subjects from Practice mail in Online Services for Agents. This marks an end to the ability to submit spreadsheet application forms for processing.”

From last Sunday, the only way to request lodgement deferrals was via the Reports and forms menu in Online Services for Agents.

The office said feedback from the Australian Bookkeepers Association had reported positive feedback from its members and the profession had generally welcomed the move with users “blown away with how easy it was, the instant approval, and the updated lodgement date for the clients”.

“One of the advantages of the new functionality is that it now provides the ATO significantly improved visibility of agent deferral activity,” it said.

“While we cannot readily compare this year’s activity to the same time last year, we will be able to undertake reliable comparisons moving forward.”

It said deferral activity varied at different points in the same year due to the staggered nature of the lodgement program due dates.

The ATO said consultation and collaborative co-design with members of the tax profession and their associations had been “pivotal to the success of this new function”.

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Philip King

Philip King


Philip King is editor of Accountants Daily and SMSF Adviser, the leading sources of news, insight, and educational content for professionals in the accounting and SMSF sectors.

Philip joined the titles in March 2022 and brings extensive experience from a variety of roles at The Australian national broadsheet daily, most recently as motoring editor. His background also takes in spells on diverse consumer and trade magazines.

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