Speaking on an ATO webcast, assistant commissioner Colin Walker said that with the rollout of online services for agents now nearly complete, the Tax Office would soon turn its attention towards helping software providers offer the ATO’s services through their products.
Essentially, online services for agents will be a midway point for the ATO before it offloads its services to a software environment.
Mr Walker, who has since moved into a new role in charge of digital services for agents, had previously spoken about the ATO’s intention to offer its services in a software environment.
“We understood a long time ago that we wouldn’t be able to continue to grow and develop our own products. What agents wanted was almost beyond our capacity to manage it,” Mr Walker said at a Sage event earlier this year.
“A number of years ago, a decision was made to move as much as we could out of the retail environment; that is, us providing you with the service, and moving into a wholesale environment where we’ll provide the basic APIs to the software providers and allow them to build out the software.
“Your software will be a one-stop shop. You will not need to have online services, you will not need the portal, but that takes time.”
According to Mr Walker, the ATO will continue to add a number of features to online services for agents before turns its focus to help software providers offer the services.
“I should point out that we are almost complete as far as new services are concerned or even transferring services across from our portal environment,” Mr Walker said.
“From now, our main focus apart from those few things we want to put in place is to get it into the software world, and anything new that we want to build, we will build an API, give it to the digital service providers and they will build it into software. So, that’s that future.”
He added: “I always wanted to be able to take us to a position where portals were not the thing we depended upon as agents, that we were able to give a modern environment that gave much more information, much more services and then move that into a situation where it all becomes part of software.
“So, that third phase is the phase that we’re starting into now.”
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.