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Tax Profession Digital Implementation Group key messages 23 April 2021

Information about the key topics discussed at the Tax Profession Digital Implementation Group meeting on 23 April 2021.

Last updated 10 January 2022

Future environment

Members participated in an open discussion to identify issues and matters of current importance to different stakeholders represented in the Tax Profession Digital Implementation Groups membership, helping to understand all perspectives.

Tax practitioner members highlighted topics including:

  • The emerging role of tax practitioners and the types of services and functions will practitioners be providing in the next 3 to 5 years.
  • Changes in (practitioner) business models and the adoption of more purely online services.
  • The resolution of irritants and known issues for the Online Services for Agents platform.
  • The provision and management of data.
  • Understanding and managing cyber security.
  • Digital Identity and Single Touch Payroll (STP) implementation.

Digital service provider members highlighted topics including:

  • Maintaining product compliance, triggered by things such as legislative changes and implementation of STP.
  • The modernisation of the Business Register with Australian Business Register (ABR's) is going to have implications for all member stakeholder groups and will deliver new services into Australian Securities and Investments Commission and ABR.
  • The future direction of automation.
  • STP Phase 2 and the impact on demand for professional services and increased complexity for employers, will this result in an increased demand for practitioner services.
  • The ATO’s new digital services gateway and understanding the value-add proposition for new services.
  • Response to COVID-19 and enduring impacts – ensuring that the changes and current constraints to resourcing are considered to maintain adequate levels of qualified staff.
  • Prioritising resource investment decisions.

The ATO acknowledged the value of the discussion held and recognised the rapidly changing environment and the potential impact this has on the current conversations and directions.

ATO Tax professionals digital services strategy

The ATO’s Tax Professionals Digital Services strategy is comprised of four streams:

  • Consolidation through education.
  • Strengthening the security of our digital ecosystem.
  • Facilitating improved client reporting.
  • Continued integration of ATO digital services in software.

As a part of this work the ATO has commenced developing a roadmap of the key things that can be expected from the ATO.

The intent of the roadmap is about transparency, providing a point in time view of the digital service priorities for the ATO out to 2024, recognising that the environment is dynamic and that things may change.

The ATO will continue with consultation and provide transparency for plans and directions with members.

Digital services strategy

ATO business continuity approach

Members were provided an overview of the ATO business continuity approach, particularly the service continuity component of the overall business continuity plan.

Members were provided a presentation that focussed on developments with the ATO’s Service Integration and Management approach.

Members were provided with further insight into key areas of work and continuous improvement being undertaken.

Cyber security

Members participated in a discussion on cyber security from the perspective of the ATO, Tax Practitioners Board (TPB) and Digital Service Providers.

The ATO provided a presentation outlining on the ATO’s cyber security capabilities and priorities.

  • Achieving secure services is a priority for the ATO, achieved through working with the ecosystem of stakeholders.
  • Cyber security is a corporate focus and is being included in more strategies, which assists identifying the areas of capability we need to strengthen and develop.
  • The ATO cyber security capability is comprised of the three elements of protecting, detecting and response.

The TPB provided a presentation that focussed on the application and examples of the Australian Cyber Security Centre Essential EightExternal Link in practice.

The TPB provided examples of the controls that could be implemented to improve security and members discussed how the extent of attacks could be limited through simple controls.

It was emphasised that there were different levels of maturity in terms of applying the Essential Eight, but cyber security is not just for large organisations or government agencies, it is for all businesses and homes.

Further discussion will be held with this group on what can be done to help make the Australian Government cyber security advice more understandable for practitioners.

Other business

A member highlighted that because of the Standard Business Reporting rules, a lot more paper returns need to be lodged and the ATO is winding back due dates. The member suggested that the ATO do not wind back the due dates. The ATO acknowledged the member and advised the issue had been noted.

It was noted that the enhanced pre-fill deployment has been delayed.