Practitioner lodgment service
The practitioner lodgment service (PLS) is our main electronic lodgment channel for tax and BAS agents.
It was developed in partnership with digital service providers using Standard Business Reporting (SBR)-enabled practice software.
We will continue to work with digital service providers to ensure they can deliver new features and enhancements to your PLS software. They will let you know about any updates or changes that affect your software.
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What is the PLS
The practitioner lodgment service (PLS) is the name given to transactions sent between you and us using your Standard Business Reporting (SBR)-enabled software.
Standard Business Reporting (SBR) is an Australian Government initiative designed to simplify business-to-government reporting.
SBR is built into business and accounting software. It incorporates standard terms used in government legislation and reporting. SBR-enabled software lets you prepare and lodge reports to government agencies directly from tax and business management software.
Using SBR-enabled software, you can prepare and lodge your clients' most common government forms directly from your financial, accounting or payroll software.
- prepare and lodge selected electronic forms securely and in real time
- receive fast confirmation that we have received your lodgment
- report through a single online channel.
The cost of software
To use the PLS you will need to purchase SBR-enabled software from a digital service provider. The provider you choose will let you know how to update your software and if there are any additional steps you need to take.
We are not able to comment on what digital service providers will charge for their software products.
However, the ability to lodge to multiple agencies through SBR-enabled software may provide some savings through:
- a reduction in the amount of time spent reporting separately to different government agencies
- the potential to simplify your software requirements to a single software package rather than various products to support your clients.
Working with digital service providers
We work in partnership with digital service providers so they can integrate our tax and superannuation services into your practice management software.
We have specific requirements that digital service providers need to follow. These include:
To develop our services and products, we give digital services providers the specifications we need, for example, the labels and data we need in a tax return. They then build the product to suit their software and test it with us.
Your digital service provider may ask you to test lodging information for your client using the software. This is called production verification testing.
Production verification testing ensures your practice management software is connecting with our systems and working together to meet system requirements.
We closely monitor valid transactions in a live environment to ensure information quality and security. When participating in the production verification testing process, we may also ask you to validate data we have received.
Testing timeframes will vary depending on the complexity of the service. In general, production verification testing increases during tax time as new forms are made available.
We will continue to work with you and your digital service providers to deliver more services in your software.
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You'll need a secure credential to access the PLS. Your digital service provider will guide you on which steps you need to take depending on what software you use.
You will need to check your credential is up to date.
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Online (cloud-based) software
If you use online SBR-enabled software you don't need to create a credential. Instead, your digital service provider will build it into your software. You must notify us if you are using online software.
If you use desktop or locally hosted SBR-enabled software you'll need access to a machine credential.
You'll need to check and assign lodgment permissions for you and your staff using Access Manager.
Other software and our online services
You will continue to use a secure online credential to authenticate in Online services for agents (OSfA).
Maintaining access to OSfA is essential as it allows you access to a range of tools, services and information about clients' records, including their communication history.
You will continue to manage permissions through Access Manager.
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Lodging using the PLS
Because the PLS uses real time validation when you lodge, there are certain checks you need to make when using the service.
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Add clients to your client list
You must add new clients to your client list before lodging.
If you don't add the client to your list beforehand, you won't be able to lodge on the clients' behalf. Your software will be unable to verify your link to the client.
If you have not correctly added a client to your list and you try to lodge for them, you'll receive an authentication error. Common reasons for authentication errors in the PLS include:
- the client isn't on your client list
- the client is attached to a different registered agent number (RAN), if you have multiple RANs
- the TFN or ABN is incorrect
- the client has a cancelled ABN
- you aren't authorised for the relevant role or account
- Access Manager does not have your permissions set.
If the client is appearing on your client list but you're still experiencing an authentication error, remove and re-add the client and try to lodge again.
Pre-lodgment checks will ensure you have filled the form out correctly and that our system can accept it. Pre-lodge checks will:
- confirm some data in the form against our systems or pre-determined algorithms
- confirm your authority to lodge on the clients' behalf
- improve security around updating client records
- reduce delays in processing submitted forms.
The PLS includes a check to ensure that account details provided on returns include only valid Australian BSB numbers. This design aims to reduce the likelihood of delays for potential client refunds.
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Verifying your client's information
Before you lodge your software will verify your client's identity information with our records to ensure they are correct. Currently, these checks will only occur when you're preparing individual tax returns.
Checking your client's details match our records is an opportunity to confirm or correct the information before you lodge. This prevents delays in processing returns or expected client refunds.
You may receive an error code during your pre-lodge check. These errors can relate to:
- information missing or incorrectly placed on the form
- authentication issues
- problems with the channel or form lodgment.
If the PLS locates an error, your software may not allow the data to transmit until you correct the error.
To check the relevant error and the recommendation, a list of PLS errors is available for:
Transaction and response times
The expected transaction and response times may vary depending on your software, internet connection and number of lodgments submitted.
If you don't receive a success or fail message after lodging a form, you should check OSfA for a lodgment confirmation before trying to lodge again.
Lodging prior-year returns
The PLS allows you to lodge most prior-year returns. However, there are some requirements you may need to meet – see Prior-year return service.
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Resolving PLS lodgment issues
There are some common errors that can prevent you from lodging for your clients:
You will need to have your permissions set correctly in Access Manager to lodge through the PLS.
Check you have added new clients to your client list before lodging for them through the PLS. If your client is not on your client list you will receive an error that will prevent lodgment.
If you have multiple registered agent numbers (RANs), you must use the RAN attached to the client when you lodge for them.
Check 'Maintain authorisations' in OSfA to see which roles or accounts you have the authority to act on for the client.
Client details match
Make sure that the client details are correct, including client identifiers like TFNs and ABNs.
If these details do not match the client record, it will prevent you from lodging.
If your client previously cancelled their ABN, you may:
- be unable to lodge some forms
- have difficulties requesting their pre-fill information.
PLS help and system availability
Where services and information are available online, use those channels before contacting us. Your digital service provider may also be able to support you.
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The practitioner lodgment service (PLS) is an electronic channel that allows you to lodge your clients' forms and access services and reports.