The tax and BAS agent portals will officially close from 11.30pm AEDT on 29 November 2019, meaning all agents will now have to transition to Online services for agents.
The portal closures had been expected to coincide with the decommissioning of AUSkey in March 2020, but the incoming Activity Statement Financial Processing (ASFP) project in December pushed forward the portal closures.
Despite the transition to the much-awaited Online services for agents, not everyone is convinced of the new system.
An Accountants Daily straw poll of 1,257 readers found that just 40.9 per cent believed the new Online services were an improvement from the old portals.
Respondents rated the old portals over Online services, with 43.3 per cent believing that the new system delivered no improvements, while the remaining 15.8 per cent were undecided on which was the superior system.
The ATO has acknowledged that some functions in the old tax and BAS agent portals are not yet available in Online services for agents but has promised to provide them by March 2020 while providing workaround solutions in the interim.
One such issue is the withdrawn access to deceased clients’ tax information, with the commissioner now set to use his remedial powers to modify the tax law to allow tax agents access.
Some other functions that will soon be made available on Online services include accessing tax-type summary reports, submitting non-lodgement advice for non-individuals and viewing activity statement account transactions.
“Each of those, which are not particularly high-use services, will be available in March,” said ATO assistant commissioner Colin Walker.
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.