With myGovID and Relationship Authorisation Manager (RAM) to replace AUSkey and Manage ABN Connections after 27 March, the ATO has heard increasingly from practitioners who are concerned with the ability for staff to access client information through online services for agents outside the workplace and outside office hours.
Concerns around access to online services by part-time staff and staff on leave have also been raised publicly, with practitioners also fearing that sensitive information can be readily accessed by disgruntled staff.
Speaking to Accountants Daily, ATO deputy commissioner and chief digital officer John Dardo said the Tax Office appreciates the concerns and will be designing a solution that will allow practitioners to control their staff’s access to online services outside the workplace.
However, Mr Dardo noted that out-of-office access had been an ongoing issue with AUSkey, with practices that copied an AUSKey or provided staff with an AUSkey on a USB stick having to contend with unsupervised access as well.
“The out-of-office hours issue, first of all, has existed for a long time. Second of all, we are changing this with myGovID. myGovID [currently] doesn’t improve it or reduce it or make it better or worse,” said Mr Dardo.
“Now, what we’ve agreed with the agent profession, is that we will do some design work to look at what out-of-office hours access could look like but that will not be released in the next few months.
“That is a longer-term discovery and consultation piece.”
In the meantime, the ATO has confirmed that they will release an audit log function in June, allowing agents to view who has been accessing online services for agents.
The audit log will also contain retrospective data to allow agents to see who has been accessing their systems before 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.”
Hear more about myGovID and what the future holds for online services for agents in our upcoming webcast with the ATO on 10 March. Register for free here.
Jotham Lian is the news 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.