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  • 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 or accounting software. Using this process provides a foundation for future enhanced services in your software.

    We will continue to work with 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.

    See also:

    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 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 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.

    See also:

    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.

    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

    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 in Access Manager.

    Next step:

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    Other software and our online services

    You will continue to use a secure online credential to authenticate in Online services for agents.

    Maintaining access to Online services for agents 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

    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. 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 attaches 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.

    See also:

    Pre-lodgment checks

    Pre-lodge checks will ensure you have filled the form out correctly that you want to submit and 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.

    Example

    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.

    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 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 Online services for agents 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 permissions

    You will need to have your 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 must use the RAN you attach to the client when lodging for them.

    You can check 'Maintain authorisations' in Online services for agents 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, it will prevent you from lodging.

    Cancelled ABNs

    If your client previously cancelled their ABN it may prevent you 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.

    See also:

    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.

    Check:

    See also:

    Last modified: 23 Jan 2020QC 43905