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  • Key changes

    Many new features and improved functions are available in Online services for agents.

    The functions available to you in the system are determined by the services you provide as a tax or BAS agent and your Access Manager permissions. This means you may not have access to view all features available.

    On this page:

    Key benefits and changes

    Following are some of the key benefits and changes you'll see in Online services for agents.

    Navigation

    Predictive search – allows you to search for a client by name. Once you enter three or more characters in the search field, the drop-down menu will start to suggest relevant clients from your client list with the same characters. To search using an identifier, such as a TFN or ABN, you need to enter the whole identifier.

    Help – prompts and help are available as you work through a feature. Select the Help? button on the right side of the screen to find more details on the feature you are using. This button is available on all screens, except the home page.

    Customise your page – default options are set for what you see on the agent home page and for each client. However, you can customise the Feature and Quick links options to suit your needs.

    Multiple screens – you can work in the system across multiple windows, and open more than one client at a time, in multiple browser windows. Right click on any menu item and select Open in a new window.

    Agent home page and Client summary – you will need to navigate between two main menus:

    • Agent home page – for actions relevant to your practice
    • Client summary – for client specific actions.

    Visibility

    Add client – you no longer need to enter a client's name exactly as it appears in our system. For individuals, enter their identifier and date of birth. For non-individuals, enter their identifier and name.

    Add or remove client – after adding or removing a client, the system may take up to 15 minutes for a client to appear or be removed from your client list. During this time, you can access the client's record using an identifier to search or by the link provided on the confirmation screen.

    Client list – all clients who have a link to your registered agent number (RAN) will be included in your client list. These clients may not have appeared in the portal directory. You can view links in the Maintain authorisation feature to see which links to your practice remain in place. You can use Remove client to remove them. For clients you can't remove, visit Client list.

    Payment plans – you can view your clients' existing payment plans. You can also choose to make a payment plan for a client without contacting us (in most situations). If you are new to payment arrangements, visit Help with paying for detailed information before making a payment plan for your client.

    Maintain authorisations – we recognise the need for BAS agents to have a joint access to a client's record. You can now easily see if another agent exists for your client. You'll be prompted before removing an authorisation for another agent. This will mitigate the risk of agents being accidentally removed.

    Restricted clients – where our system has a certain status set for a client, such as deceased, you may not be able to access the client's record. You will need to contact us if you can't access a client's record.

    For action – when accessing a client record, you'll see a list of all their due and overdue lodgments and any upcoming payments.

    Tax registrations – besides GST and pay as you go (PAYG) withholding you can also register, update and cancel:

    • fuel tax credits (FTC)
    • wine equalisation tax (WET)
    • luxury car tax (LCT).

    Consolidated summary of ATO accounts – view and print a summary of all ATO accounts held by your clients in one place, including the balance and overdue amount. This includes accounts that are not visible in the portals, such as super guarantee (SG).

    Payments – payment options replace payments slips. The cheque payment option has been removed. A card payment feature has been included.

    Account login – practices with multiple RANs can see all the RANs they have access to, and easily move from one RAN to another.

    Favourite clients – you can create a list of clients to quickly access as favourites, and add and remove favourites as required. You can use this feature to add a list of clients that you need to work on for the week, and quickly move between these clients from your favourites list without having to search.

    Income tax and fringe benefits tax

    Tax history – access details of your clients' processed tax returns from 2010 onwards, even if you didn't prepare or lodge the returns. Return schedules will not be displayed.

    Progress of return – check and monitor the progress of your client's tax return in real time without needing to contact us.

    Lodgment program performance – see how your 85% on-time lodgment performance is tracking (updated each Sunday), and access two years of performance statistics.

    Non-lodgment advice – similar to a return not necessary. The system uses real-time validation to display eligible years for which you can lodge a non-lodgment advice for an individual, and whether lodgment is successful or unsuccessful. You can currently only submit a non-lodgment advice for an individual. For non-individuals, you will need to use the practitioner lodgment service (PLS) to submit a non-lodgment advice until this feature is available.

    Super

    Super fund details – see a consolidated view of all your individual clients' super funds and balances, including a breakdown of their total superannuation balances as at the last reporting date. This gives you visibility of all super-related accounts in the ATO, including ATO-held super.

    Super functions – view bring-forward arrangement details, including the remaining balance and transfer balance cap details, as well as lodge transfer balance account reports for individual clients. You can also lodge elections for your clients for concessional, non-concessional and transfer balance caps.

    Terminology changes

    Terms used in Online services for agents and the similar feature term in the portals.

    Online services for agents

    The portals

    Practice mail

    Portal mail

    Non-lodgment advice

    Return not necessary or
    Further return not necessary

    Communication history

    Client communication list

    STP reporting

    Client employer obligations

    My details

    Your details

    Notifications

    Portal key update

    Business – Small Business Super Clearing House (SBSCH)

    Client employer obligations

    Primary contact

    Entity representative

    Historical transactions

    Your dealings

    System updates

    Following are recent system changes to Online services for agents made during our planned system maintenance.

    2 December 2019

    • Deceased estatesAdd client now includes a declaration to allow a legal personal representative to have access to a deceased client's information. We will remove access to the client when we receive official notification of their death. If you are their legal personal representative, you can add the client and review and accept the declaration that you are authorised to access the information.
    • Activity statements – screens redesigned with less white space to reduce scrolling and rows viewed. The Not lodged tab has been renamed to For action, and has more prompts for actions required.
    • PAYG instalment label T9 – you can now edit the amount in T9.
    • Advanced search – the system will remember your search preference for how many results are returned on a page – 10, 25, 50 or 100 clients per page.
    • Print friendly – you can use your web browser print option to print from the system. We recommend you use the print friendly option from within the system where available.
    • Income tax lodgment status on demand report – you can now filter this report by all clients, lodged, not lodged and return not necessary.
    • Shares and units – a new pre-generated report is available for tax agents in the Client report menu showing a history of the buy and sell transaction data for a client's shares and units. This is ATO-held securities records from 1 July 2017 and can be used to help manually calculate capital gains tax (CGT) when completing a client's income tax return.
    • Transfer balance election – the system will now prevent an excess transfer balance election for a determination period if your client has already made an election for that period or the election period has expired.
    • ESIC report – you can now view up to 100 reportable investors in the report.

    16 September 2019

    • Payment plans – tax agents can select if they or their client receives an email or SMS reminder when their payment is due.
    • Super:  
      • A new Concessional contributions menu is available when you select Super then Information. You can see your client's unused concessional contributions and the data we use to derive their unused concessional contribution cap.
      • A new electronic service address function is available at Profile then Client details when your client has an SMSF. You can add or update the electronic service address alias. This is not an email address but the SMSF's IP or URL that represents the SMSF's messaging provider.

    2 August 2019

    • Pre-fill reports – you can view or download pre-fill reports for up to five clients at a time in Reports and forms. Select the report format, either view in a browser or download in XML, CSV or HTML. Then add each client using their identifier or name. Predictive search will be used if you type more than three characters.

    24 June 2019

    • Taxable payments annual report – you can view a list of lodged reports, and lodge and amend a report using the Lodgment function. Lodge up to 20 payees on one report and see the reports that are due on the For action screen.

    18 March 2019

    • STP – to request a deferral or exemption to start Single Touch Payroll reporting, you no longer have to contact us or download and attach a separate request. You can complete your request in the system. You'll receive an instant notification letting you know the request has been accepted or sent for assessment.
    • Superannuation – transaction information is available in Fund details. You can view and download the super fund transaction amounts paid by your client's employer and funds that closed on or after 1 July 2018. 
      • At Employer contributions, you can view and download information and transactions relating to your client's employer contributions from 1 July 2018. These include the type of contribution, payment date and year-to-date contributions.
      • View bring-forward arrangement details, including the remaining balance and transfer balance cap details, as well as lodge transfer balance account reports for individual clients. You can also lodge elections for your clients for Division 293 and the concessional, non-concessional and transfer balance caps.

    See also:

    Last modified: 02 Dec 2019QC 57720