Speaking at Thomson Reuters Synergy 2019, ATO director Felix Manero said the ATO is estimating an influx of 4 million taxpayers signing up for a myGov account in an attempt to view their income statement, formerly known as a payment summary.
This follows the introduction of Single Touch Payroll which will see employers exempt from providing end-of-year payment summaries to their employees.
Instead, payment summary information will now be called an income statement, and can be accessed through their myGov account or their tax agent.
The Tax Office is wary that a spike in taxpayers linking their myGov accounts to the ATO will prove problematic for agents because clients will receive ATO communication directly to their myGov inbox.
“All communication will continue to be received by your client communication list in the tax agent portal, which means you have to be looking at that on a regular basis,” Mr Manero said.
“We have a solution called preferencing, but do we have a solution ready for you now? No, we don’t. This has been a real challenge.
“Is it the best experience we can give you? No, it’s not, and hand on heart we say it’s a horrible experience, but we are resolving it with preferencing. It will allow you to start defining who, what, when I get from my clients.”
ATO assistant commissioner Colin Walker had also previously called for agents to pay close attention to their client communication list this tax time until the preferencing solution comes through.
“Currently, we have about 3.7 million clients of agents who have myGov accounts, and as agents would know, that means that much of their communications from the ATO goes through into a myGov inbox,” Mr Walker said.
“For now, it is really important that agents become much more robust around how they use the client communication list. That is how they are going to be able to see communications, particularly things such as notice of assessment, debt notices, things related to their income.
“So, a warning for this year until we get a preferencing solution in place: you need to make sure you watch the client communication list, or you are likely to miss communications. We do know that only a small portion of clients who actually have myGov inboxes look at those inboxes, so the opportunity to miss something is very high.”
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.