Show download pdf controls
  • File transfer

    With file transfer you can:

    • lodge a range of reports quickly and securely through our online portals
    • send large files and multiple files as a single compressed file
    • test your files for errors before lodging.

    What you need:

    • an online security credential – either AUSkey or Manage ABN Connections (set up in myGov) – to log in to an ATO portal    
    • business management software to generate your reports in a supported file format.

    How to use file transfer:

    After you submit your file:

    • receipt of your file will be confirmed and it will be validated for errors
    • you'll be notified by email when the file has been validated (if you've chosen this option)
    • select File transfer File status to view the validation report, which will show that your file has been:    
      • successfully tested or lodged
      • completed with warnings
      • rejected with errors.

    See also:

    Supported files

    Find out about:

    Statements and reports you can lodge

    The following statements and reports can be tested and lodged using file transfer:

    • Payment summary annual report (also known as EMPDUPE)
    • TFN declarations
    • Taxable payments annual report (TPAR)
    • Employee share scheme report (ESS)
    • Annual investment income report (AIIR)
    • Quarterly TFN and ABN report (QTFN)
    • Superannuation member contributions statement (MCS)
    • Super TFN Integrity Check (SuperTICK)
    • Employer TFN Integrity Check (ETICK)
    • Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA) report
    • Private health insurance report (PHIR)
    • Real property transfer report (RPTR)
    • Country by country report (CbC)
    • Transfer balance account report (TBAR)
    • Transfer of shares and units - market participant (TSUMP)
    • Transfer of shares and units - listed entities report (TSULE)
    • Business transactions through payment systems report (BTTPS)
    • Common Reporting Standard report (CRS).

    Corrected TFN/ABN return files sent in response to AIIR and QTFN lodgments are made available through our portals.

    File format

    To lodge a statement or report electronically you need to create a file from your software in a format and version supported by our systems.

    Most business bookkeeping and payroll software can produce files in the required format. The Australian Business Software Industry Association (ABSIA) product catalogueExternal Link lists the commercial software products that meet our requirements. If you need help generating the file from your software, contact your software developer.

    If you've previously lodged these files through the electronic commerce interface (ECI) you can lodge them using file transfer.

    You can't lodge scanned images or forms, screen prints, spreadsheets or word processing files (for example .pdf, .doc, .xls, .jpg, .tif) through file transfer.

    When you submit your file to us, it will be validated to ensure that it complies with the electronic reporting specifications, sometimes referred to as 'flat file' or 'fixed record length' format. Files in XBRL file format, such as the Super TFN Integrity Check, will be validated to ensure they comply with the Message Implementation Guide.

    Software specifications for statements or reports

    Statement or report

    Specification your software must comply with

    Taxable payments annual report

    Versions 1.0.0, 1.0.1, 1.0.2 (Version 2.0.0 accepted for 2018 and future years)

    Payment summary annual report (also known as EMPDUPE)

    Versions 9, 10, 11 and 12

    TFN declarations

    Version 2.3.1 and 3

    Quarterly TFN and ABN report

    Version 6.2

    Annual investment income report

    Version 10.0.2 and 11.0.1

    Superannuation member contributions statement

    Version 10.1.1

    Employee share scheme report

    Version 2

    Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act report

    Version 2

    Private health insurance report

    Version 3

    Real property transfer report

    Version 1.0.1

    Country by country report

    Version 1

    Transfer balance account report

    Version 1.0.1

    Transfer of shares and units - market participant report

    Version 1.1.0

    Version 1.0 (XML)

    Transfer of shares and units - listed entities report

    Version 1.0.1

    Business transactions through payment systems report

    Version 1.0.1

    Version 1.0 (XML)

    Test facility for software developers

    Software developers can use our file transfer test facility to validate and test files.

    See also:

    Access and permissions

    Find out about:

    Online security credential

    To use file transfer you'll need an online security credential – either AUSkey or Manage ABN Connections (set up in myGov) – so you can log in to an ATO portal.

    Each person in your business will need their own security credential to log in and use the portal.

    Next steps:

    Permissions

    Administrators (AUSkey holders or connected myGov users with administrator access) will be able to:

    • access all file transfer functions by default
    • manage access and permissions for the portal's functions for your staff (who will need to be registered as a standard user (AUSkey holder or connected myGov user with standard access).

    If you're a standard user (AUSkey holder or connected myGov user with standard access), you'll have access to the following functions by default:

    • test and lodge Payment summary annual report (PSAR)
    • test and lodge Taxable payments annual report (TPAR)
    • test and lodge TFN declarations (TFN Dec).

    If you need additional permissions your administrator will need to grant them.

    If you're unsure of your permissions you can ask your system administrator. You can also use the portal to check which reports you can lodge:

    • select File transfer > Lodge file in the portal left menu
    • click the link What reports can I lodge here?
    The administrator sets permissions using the standalone tool Access Manager

    Access Manager permissions

    File transfer function

    View

    Able to download files that we send

    Prepare

    Able to test a file and download the validation report

    Lodge

    Able to lodge a file containing original or amended data and download the validation report

     

    Able to download response files for the files lodged (eg Corrected TFN/ABN return file)

    Revise

    n/a

    See also:

    Submitting files on behalf of others

    You can submit files on behalf of others, including lodging PAYG payment summary annual reports.

    Payroll service providers such as payroll bureaus, registered tax agents and third parties can perform certain payroll functions on behalf of one or more employers.

    When lodging PAYG withholding annual reports electronically, a payroll service provider is the supplier who lodges the annual report on behalf of employers. They use their own online security credential when lodging.

    You need to log in to Access Manager to manage your access and permissions in the portals.

    See also:

    Compressing your files

    We recommend you compress ('zip') your files before sending them to us. Compression makes uploading faster, especially for large files, and allows you to send multiple files as a single compressed file.

    Find out about:

    How to compress files

    You need to compress your files to a .zip file format.

    File compression tools are generally included in operating systems. For example, in Windows 7 and later you would:

    • select your file or files in File Explorer
    • right click and select Send to > Compressed (zipped) folder

    You can also use third-party compression tools, such as WinZip and 7-Zip. (The current version of TrueZip is not supported. An error message 'Compression method 9 not supported' will display.)

    You can only compress a file or multiple files together. Don't include any folders in the compressed file and don't include compressed files within a compressed file.

    Reducing upload times

    The time to upload your file depends on the size of the file and your connection speed. Most lodgments are less than 1MB and should take less than two minutes to upload on a broadband connection. Large files can take significantly longer.

    Compressing your files can reduce the file size up to 10 times, greatly reducing the upload time. For example, a 100MB file may take up to 30 minutes to upload, even on a very fast connection; the same file may compress to just 10MB and send in less than five minutes.

    Large files

    You can use file transfer to test or lodge the full set of data you’re required to report. You don’t need to split the file.

    We strongly recommend that you compress your file to reduce the upload time.

    You don’t need to stay connected to the portal during validation.

    Limitations on file compression sizes

    Standard compression (Deflate) uses a 32-bit algorithm. This algorithm is mainly used by older versions of third-party file compression tools and the File Explorer in Windows XP. The maximum file size is approximately 4GB but Windows XP has a known issue where a zip file can become unreadable and corrupted if the file being compressed is larger than 2GB. The latest versions of third-party compression tools such as WinZip or 7-Zip are recommended for files greater than 2GB.

    Deflate64 compression uses a 64-bit algorithm. This algorithm is supported in the latest versions of third-party tools as well as Windows Vista, Windows Server 2008, Windows 7 and Windows 8. The maximum file size will easily accommodate any lodgment to us.

    Files created from a file larger than 2GB using Windows 7 64-bit (right click and select Send to Compressed (zipped) folder) cannot be unzipped.

    Testing and lodging files

    To test and lodge files, select File transfer > Lodge file in the portal left menu. This will display the Lodge screen, which gives you the option to test or lodge your file:

    • Test: the file is sent to us, validated and checked for errors, but not lodged.
    • Lodge: the file is sent to us, validated and lodged if no errors are detected.

    We recommend you test your files before lodging to identify any errors and reduce the need for amendments. You can then upload your file again to lodge it.

    After you submit the file, the File status – in progress screen displays while the file is being validated. It will not be lodged if errors are detected.

    When validation is complete we'll notify you by email (if you've chosen this option).

    You can select File transfer > File status in the portal left menu to view the validation report. If there are errors, you'll need to deal with them before re-submitting the file.

    The File status screen also shows the status of files you’ve previously tested or lodged.

    When submitting a file you don't need to include any other documents with it.

    You can test or lodge files at any time, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week (unless our systems are unavailable because of maintenance or system issues).

    Find out about:

    See also:

    Validation report

    When validation is complete you can download the validation report by selecting File transfer File status in the portal left menu.

    The validation report is only accessible to the entity that submitted the file through the portal.

    There are four types of report:

    • Successful report – your file has been successfully tested or lodged.
    • Successful with warnings report – your file has been successfully submitted (either lodge or test) but it contained some fields that may not be correct. If the file has been lodged, we recommend you review the warnings and, if necessary, amend any records that need to be updated and re-lodge only the amended records in a new file.
    • Failed file format report – your file has been rejected because it has errors with the file format.
    • Failed file content report – your file has been rejected because it has errors in the file content.

    If there are warnings or errors, you'll need to deal with them and re-submit the file.

    The validation report contains both a summary and the details of any errors or warnings. It has further information to help you identify, review and correct the record, including the record number, the fields containing errors or warnings, and what is currently recorded in those fields.

    Time required to validate files

    Most files will be validated in a matter of minutes.

    The length of time depends on the number of records, the number of errors and the overall complexity of the specification and validation rules for the lodged file.

    You don't need to stay connected to the portal during validation – you can log in again later and select File transfer File status to either:

    • check if validation is still in progress
    • download the completed report.

    You can also choose to be notified by email when the validation report is available.

    A number of factors influence validation performance on the day. The table below shows indicative timings for validation of large files (that is, from when the upload is complete until the validation report and file status are available).

    Note that compressing your files reduces upload times but does not affect validation times because validation occurs on the uncompressed file.

    Uncompressed file size

    Estimated validation time

    1GB

    45 minutes to 1 hour

    2GB

    1.5 hours to 2 hours

    3GB

    2.5 hours to 3 hours

    5GB

    3.5 hours to 4 hours

    8GB

    5.5 hours to 7 hours

    Meaning of ‘Supplier ABN’

    The ‘Supplier ABN’ on the validation report and File status screen is the Australian business number (ABN) of the data supplier. For most lodgments this is the same as the entity that submitted the file for testing or lodgment. For suppliers that don't have an ABN, a WPN (Withholder Payer Number) will display.

    In some situations, intermediaries (for example, BAS agents or payroll providers) may lodge files where the Supplier ABN is that of their client rather than the intermediary.

    Next steps:

    Dealing with warnings and errors

    If the validation report for your file has warnings or errors, you'll need to deal with them before re-submitting the file.

    Find out about:

    Validation warnings

    If the file validation process results in warnings only (no errors), the file has been successfully submitted (either lodge or test) but contained fields that may not be correct.

    If the file has been lodged, we recommend that you review the warnings to check that the information reported is correct. If any of the fields are incorrect, you'll need to:

    • amend the incorrect records
    • follow your software instructions for creating an amendment file (Type of Report 'A')
    • re-lodge only the amended records in a new file.

    It's important that you don't re-lodge the entire file. This may result in a duplicate lodgment.

    Not all warnings will need to be corrected. Some may be valid and require no action.

    Validation errors

    If there are errors, you'll need to correct them and re-submit the file.

    Below are suggested fixes for common errors experienced when attempting to test or lodge a file.

    Common error messages

    Error message

    Cause

    Possible fix

    The file contains non-ASCII characters. To lodge a file electronically you must first create a file that is generated from your software in a format and version supported by our systems. Scanned images or forms, screen prints, spreadsheets and word processing files (for example .pdf, .doc, .xls, .jpg, .tiff) cannot be lodged via the file transfer function on our portals.

    You may be trying to upload a file that is not in the correct format. The file must be saved as a plain text file (eg .txt).

     

    This error is commonly caused when:

    • the original text file has been opened in an Excel format & saved as text (tab delimited) (*.txt)
    • the original file has been opened in Word and saved as a .doc file – all files need to be text files
    • a carriage return or line feed characters exist
    • extra spaces are detected in the file.

     

     

    The compressed file is corrupted and cannot be processed. Please try again.

    You have compressed a corrupted file or the file has been corrupted during the compression process.

    • Uncompress the file, save as a plain text file (eg .txt) and submit the uncompressed file.
    • Submit the original file.

     

    The file cannot be processed, a virus has been detected.

    The file contains a virus.

    Use a virus protection product to remove the virus.

    The file supplied is empty – it contains zero bytes.

    The file contains no data. This may be caused by an issue when the file has been saved.

    • Locate the original file (this will be 4KB or greater) and submit it. Ensure that the file was created through correct use of the software.
    • If you continue to have issues with your software, contact your software provider.

     

    Please contact your AUSkey administrator. This type of file is not able to be sent by the AUSkey holder.

    Certain file types require the Administrator (Administrator AUSkey holder or connected myGov users with Administrator access) to give permission to a Standard user (Standard AUSkey holder or connected myGov users with Standard access) to allow them to view, prepare or lodge a file.

     

    User permissions are set by the Administrator through Access Manager. Permissions are set according to the file type.

    Contact your Administrator to determine if you have been given the correct permission for the type of file.

    The file is an invalid format. To lodge a file electronically you must first create a file that is generated from your software in a format and version supported by our systems. Scanned images or forms, screen prints, spreadsheets and word processing files (for example .pdf, .doc, .xls, .jpg, .tiff) cannot be lodged via the file transfer function on our portals. More information can be found at: www.ato.gov.au/filetransfer or contact your software developer.

    File is not in a text format.

    • Locate the original file created by the software product and upload the file. If you are unable to locate it or do not have it, contact your software provider.
    • If the file requires reformatting, contact your software provider.

     

    The file cannot be processed as it contains a compressed file within a compressed file.

    The portal cannot find the file when more than one level of compression exists.

    Uncompress the file and then upload the compressed file.

    The compressed file contains no files. Please try again.

    No file exists to upload.

    • Locate the original file created by the software product and submit the file. If you are unable to locate it or do not have it, contact your software provider.
    • If the file requires reformatting, contact your software provider.

     

    The field must not contain blanks or non-numeric characters.

    Common issues include:

    • the file contains a space, symbol or alpha in a field that does not allow such characters
    • the field is a numeric field only, and should contain either a value or zero/s; it cannot be blank
    • the user may have opened the file in a Windows product (eg Notepad or Word) where an additional space may have been inserted; this may have an effect of pushing all the fields along, resulting in a blank in a numeric field
    • users attempting to upload a file that is not in the correct format, eg cannot be a .doc, .jpg etc. File must be saved as a plain text file ie .txt
    • the original text file has been opened in an Excel format and saved as Text (Tab Delimited)
    • the file contains a carriage return (¶) or line feed (§) character.

     

     

    The field must be entered but you did not report anything in this field.

    This field requires a value, it cannot be blank.

    Enter a valid value.

    The field must not commence with a space.

    A field contains a space at the beginning.

     

    Fields are usually left justified and must start with a valid character.

    • Remove the space and retest the file.
    • If you require assistance, contact your software developer.

     

    The name field must not contain two or more spaces between names.

    The name field has more than one space between the names.

    Insert one given name per field, or only allow one space between names.

    Re-submitting files

    If you originally sent multiple files as a single compressed file and you receive an error, you don't need to re-send all the files, only the file that has the error.

    You should not re-send files that have successfully lodged or successfully lodged with warnings. If you want to change the data reported in a file that was successfully lodged or successfully lodged with warnings/possible errors, you'll need to lodge an amendment.

    Files that are duplicates will be identified and rejected during the validation process. The duplicate file will not be processed.

    Email notification

    When you lodge or test a file you can choose to receive an email notification when the validation report is available:

    • select File transfer Lodge file in the left menu of the portal.
    • select Yes for email notification and enter an address.
    • test or lodge your file.

    You can opt out of this service at any time – simply change the option to No the next time you test or lodge a file.

    Choosing an email address

    The notification email address is recorded for your organisation rather than for a specific user within the organisation. Only one email address can be stored.

    If multiple people in your organisation will be using file transfer, it may be best to use a group email address that all users can access. Alternatively, the notification email address can be updated each time a file is submitted for testing or lodgment.

    • If someone in your organisation has previously opted to receive notifications, the email address they entered will be shown.
    • If the email address is changed, the new address will be used for all notifications, including for any file validations in progress (which may have been requested by other users in your organisation) and files that we subsequently send through file transfer.
    • If you use your personal email address, any reports sent by us through file transfer will go to your personal email address, not the organisation’s address.
    • Notifications can be sent only by email. SMS notification is not available at this time.

    Accessing files sent by ATO

    We may send investment bodies the following files through the file transfer function:

    • corrected TFN/ABN return file in response to a Quarterly TFN/ABN report lodgment
    • corrected TFN/ABN return file in response to an Annual investment income report (AIIR) lodgment.

    You should download files promptly as they will be archived periodically.

    Your organisation may be required to act on the data within a specific time.

    Find out about:

    How to access a file

    To download or see details of a file that we've sent:

    • Log in to the portal.
    • Select File transfer File status in the portal left menu. All files tested or lodged by your organisation, or sent to your organisation, will be listed.    
      • Files that have previously been downloaded will have a status of Sent by ATO.
      • Files that have not previously been downloaded will have a status of Sent by ATO – new.
    • Download the file and process it into your software as you normally do.

    Permissions

    If you have permission to lodge a file type (for example, AIIR) you will automatically be permitted to download associated response files (for example, Corrected TFN/ABN report).

    Access to files sent by the ATO that are not directly related to a lodgment is managed by the appropriate View permission set in Access Manager.

    Notification emails

    When a file is made available, you'll be notified by email if your organisation has chosen this option. The email will be sent to the email address specified when a file was last submitted to be tested or lodged.

    Member contributions statement – Outcome of lodgment report

    The Outcome of lodgment report (OOLR) sent in response to Member contributions statement (MCS) lodgments will continue to be sent via the electronic commerce interface (ECI). It will be made available through the file transfer function at a future time.

    The MCS OOLR will not generate a notification in our portal.

    Using legacy channels (ECI and media)

    To upload your files you should use file transfer in the portals or Standard Business Reporting (SBR) if you have SBR-enabled software.

    We no longer accept files sent on physical media.

    Services in the electronic commerce interface (ECI) will gradually close as clients transition to our portals and SBR:

    • The following cannot be lodged through ECI: TFN declarations, Annual investment income report, Quarterly TFN report, Employee share scheme report, Withholding where ABN not quoted report and Payment summary annual report.

    Other ECI services will close over time as the services are made available in our preferred electronic channels. ECI will generally not support any new services or new specification versions of existing services.

      Last modified: 12 Feb 2018QC 26853