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  • Practitioner lodgment service

    The practitioner lodgment service (PLS) is our main electronic lodgment channel for tax and BAS agents.

    It has been developed in partnership with digital service providers using Standard Business Reporting (SBR)-enabled practice or accounting software. Using this process provides a foundation for future enhanced services in your software.

    We will continue to work with your digital service providers to ensure they can deliver new features and enhancements to the PLS in your software.

    Your digital service provider will let you know about any updates or changes that affect your PLS software.

    Find out about:

    What is the PLS

    The practitioner lodgment service (PLS) is the name given to transactions coming from you using 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 and incorporates standard terms used in government legislation and reporting. SBR-enabled software lets you prepare and lodge reports to government 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.

    You can:

    • 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.

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    The cost of software

    To use the PLS you will need purchase SBR-enabled software from a digital service provider. The digital service provider you choose will let you know what you need to do 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 and lodge 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. By 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.

    PLS authentication

    You'll need an AUSkey security 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 AUSkey credentials are up to date.

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    Online (cloud-based) software

    If you use online SBR-enabled software you'll no longer use your AUSkey to interact with us through your software. Your digital service provider will make this possible. You must notify us if you are using online software.

    Next step:

    • Follow these instructions to notify us of a hosted SBR-software service if you've been advised by your digital service provider that your software is eligible.

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    Desktop software

    You'll need to check and assign lodgment permissions for you and your staff in Access Manager.

    To give your staff access to the clients of your registered agent number, you need to authorise their AUSkey in Access Manager and give them the necessary permissions to lodge.

    Only Administrator or Access Administrators will be able to set the lodgment permissions for users.

    Next step:

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    Other software and our online services

    You will continue to use your AUSkey to authenticate in Online services for agents, the portals or any other AUSkey-enabled products.

    Maintaining access to Online services for agents and the portals 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 your AUSkey access through Access Manager.

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    Lodging using the PLS

    The PLS uses real time validation when you lodge. There are certain checks you need to make when using the PLS.

    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 as your software will be unable to verify your link to the client.

    If you try to lodge for a client not correctly added to your client list, 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's ABN is cancelled
    • you aren't authorised for the relevant role or account
    • your AUSkey permissions haven't been 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.

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    Pre-lodgment checks

    Pre-lodge checks will ensure the form you want to submit is filled out correctly, and can be accepted by our systems. 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.


    When entering a client's Bank State Branch (BSB) number for individual tax returns the PLS includes a check to ensure that account details provided on returns include only valid Australian BSB numbers. This check is designed to reduce the likelihood of delays for potential client refunds.

    End of example

    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.

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    Error codes

    You may receive an error code during your pre-lodge check, before you can lodge through the PLS. These errors can relate to:

    • information missing or incorrectly placed on the form
    • authentication issues
    • problems with the channel or form lodgment.

    If an error is found, your software may not allow the data to be transmitted until the error has been corrected.

    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 being submitted.

    If you don't receive a success or fail message after lodging a form, you should check Online services for agents or the portal for a lodgment confirmation before trying to lodge again.

    Lodging prior-year returns

    The PLS allows you to lodge most prior-year returns. There are some requirements you may need to meet to lodge prior-year returns through the PLS. See Prior-year return service for details.

    Resolving PLS lodgment issues

    There are some common errors that can prevent you from lodging for your clients.

    Check your AUSkey permissions

    You will need to have your AUSkey permissions set correctly in Access Manager to lodge through the PLS.

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    Have you added the client

    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.

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    Using multiple RANs

    If you have multiple registered agent numbers (RANs) you will need to make sure that you lodge using the RAN the client is attached to.

    You can check 'Maintain authorisations' in Online services for agents or your authorisation summary in the portals to see which roles or accounts you have the authority to act on behalf of a client.

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    Client details match

    You will need to ensure that the client details are correct, including client identifiers like tax file numbers and ABNs.

    If these details do not match the client record, you will be prevented from lodging.

    Cancelled ABNs

    If your client previously cancelled their ABN, you may be prevented from lodging some forms, or have difficulties requesting their pre-fill information.

    The cancelled ABN will fail to validate against the clients' record and will result in an error that prevents lodgment.

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    PLS help and system availability

    Where services and information are available online, use those channels before contacting us. Your digital service provider may also have additional assistance and material to support you.


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    Last modified: 07 Nov 2019QC 43905