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  • Online services for agents

    Online services for agents will be our new system to access services you currently use in our portals. It has been co-designed with tax and BAS agents to improve your experience.

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    Features include:

    • the tools you need to interact with us and manage your practice and clients
    • a contemporary platform that will streamline functions
    • greater visibility of client data in real-time
    • an interface that can be customised to meet your needs
    • one system for all registered agents
    • new and improved functionality that addresses many of the irritants that are currently in the portals.

    The Tax Agent Portal and BAS Agent Portal will continue to be available while you transition to the new service.

    Time for change

    The portals are ageing technology, becoming increasingly difficult to maintain to meet expectations.

    To continue to improve our online service offering to you, we must develop new services.

    We recognise this is a significant change for you and your practice. The portals will remain available while you transition to Online services for agents.

    Designing and testing with you

    In developing Online services for agents we listened to your feedback on issues with existing portals, and refined functionality in the new service.

    We are working with you to test Online services for agents in a live environment through private and public beta processes.

    Participants in our private beta represent a cross-selection of tax and BAS agents from around the country. During the private beta, this group will trial the new system alongside the existing portals. Feedback obtained will be used to improve the service for public beta.

    What's next

    You will be notified when our public beta phase will be open to use and how to provide feedback to help us further refine the service.

    Similar services are being made available to your digital service providers to include in your practice management software. We will continue to consult and co-design with you and your digital service providers to help us determine priorities for this transition, and the most effective way to deliver these changes.

    What benefits will be delivered

    Many new features and improved functions are available. We are also retaining and improving features you have told us you like in the existing portals. What you will see depends on the services you provide as a tax or BAS agent and your Access Manager permissions. The benefits include:

    • Predictive search – this feature allows you to search for a client from anywhere in the system using their name without having to enter their identifier, such as a TFN or ABN.
    • Tax history – you have access to the details of your clients' lodged income tax returns from 2010 onwards, even if you did not prepare or lodge the return.
    • Progress of return – tax agents can check/monitor the progress of their client's tax return in real time without needing to contact us.
    • Lodgment program performance – tax agents can see how they are tracking with their 85% on-time lodgment performance (updated weekly) and access two years of performance statistics.
    • Super fund details – tax agents can see a consolidated view of all their individual clients' super funds and balances, including the breakdown of their total super balance as at the last reporting date. This real time information gives them visibility of all super-related accounts in the ATO, including ATO held super.
    • Super functions – tax agents can view bring forward arrangement details including the remaining balance, transfer balance cap details and can lodge transfer balance account reports for their individual clients. They can also lodge elections for their clients for concessional, non-concessional and transfer balance caps.
    • Add client – you no longer need to enter the client's name exactly as it appears in our system. You just need their identifier, and for individuals, also their date of birth.
    • Payment plans – you will have visibility of your client's existing payment plans. You can also choose to make a payment plan for your client without contacting us in most situations.
    • 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 and will be prompted before removing an authorisation for another agent. This will mitigate the risk of agents being removed in error.
    • For action – when accessing a client record, you will see a list of your clients' outstanding obligations that need action.
    • Tax registrations – you can register, update and cancel fuel tax credits (FTC), wine equalisation tax (WET) and luxury car tax (LCT) in addition to GST and pay as you go (PAYG) withholding.
    • Consolidated summary of ATO accounts – view and print a summary of all ATO accounts held by your clients, including the balance and overdue amount in one place. This includes accounts that are not visible in the portals, such as Superannuation Guarantee Employer Obligation.
    • Multiple screens – you can work in the system across multiple tabs.

    Our staff will have a replica view of the system with your data. Although this is not a screen sharing functionality, it will help us to assist you with your enquiries.

    Stay informed

    We will keep you updated on the progress of Online services for agents in the Tax professionals newsroom and through our newsletters.

    See also:

    Last modified: 25 Sep 2018QC 54696