The ATO has now revealed that it will not be able to move on that deadline, with the AUSkey technology physically expiring at 12pm on 30 March.
“The problem with that, of course, is that 30 March is a working day,” ATO deputy commissioner and chief digital officer John Dardo told Accountants Daily.
“So, if I wait for 30 March at noon, to let everything die before I mandate a switch-over, it will be happening in the middle of a Monday.”
While practitioners have faced a number of challenges in setting up their myGovID, including verifying their identity, Mr Dardo said it was a necessary change to ensure the ATO knows who exactly was accessing its systems.
“It is in the interest of both agents and the ATO, to improve the integrity and assurance of who is accessing the ATO’s system, to know the specific person,” Mr Dardo said.
“That is part of us starting to be more assertive in making sure that we know who is accessing our systems because we’ve got so much information that we’re making available to agents now in our system.”
However, in a bid to ease transition woes, from 13 March, the ATO will add a new function for users to link a change in name by verifying a marriage certificate or change of name certificate.
This will attempt to deal with individuals who have taken on their partner’s surname or those with hyphenated names.
Further, the ATO will expand its list of accepted identity documents, starting with visas in June, followed by other documents such as citizenship certificates and ImmiCards later on in the year.
The issue with linking a practice that is being conducted through a trust, in RAM, has also been identified by the ATO.
“There is a process in place right now where someone has up to three ABNs that require a manual link for the trustee process; they can give us a call and we can do that over the phone for them,” said ATO assistant commissioner Ben Foster.
For those with more than three ABNs, the ATO will deploy an online form by the end of the week to assist them with the issue.
Out-of-office hours security
A key issue raised by the profession has centred around the ability for staff to access client information through Online services for agents outside the workplace and outside office hours.
Mr Dardo said the ATO has acknowledged the concern and will be releasing an audit log function that will allow agents to view who has been accessing their systems.
The function will only be available from June.
“That will be available to agents and that will give them more transparency than they’ve ever had in the history of our portals about who is logging in,” Mr Dardo said.
“The ATO is working with the agent profession on understanding what other out-of-office hours controls agents may want in the future, but that is subject to further discovery and design work.”
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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.