6. Portals

Meeting discussion

At the Future Tax Industry Limited Life working, portal stability and reliability was discussed. Feedback was sought on the major irritants with the portal.

Whist portal outages are an irritant; it is not always a problem with the portal itself and typically results in a reduction in function, rather than a complete failure of function.

The ATO have established a Short Message Service (SMS) for practitioners. Messages are sent when we detect significant unplanned portal outages or functionality issues and we identify that SMS is the most effective method of alerting practitioners.

We are looking to expend our communication methods using email and better web and social media approaches. Portal functionality issues are generally posted as a key update on the portal.

Professional Associations raised the concern around the messages being provided by the ATO around the future of the portal.

The Chair confirmed that the Agent Portals will be continuing. The portals are dated software solutions (early 2000) and, the ATO will progressively build the priority portal services in ATO online and make them available to software developers to include in their products. The transition to ATO online is intended to be mostly seamless for practitioners, as ATO Online will be accessed the same way as practitioners access the portals. The only difference being a more reliable and improved service.

The ATO is working with software developers and professional associations to make the services and experiences currently in the portal, available to software developers.

The Chair will ensure that a clear communication around the future of the portals is developed and the Professional Associations will provide input.

It was acknowledged by members that there are not many significant portal irritants, mostly just small irritants, which take time out of a practitioner’s day. To support practitioners, attendees suggested:

  • the development of a portal users guide, which can be incorporated into the broader guide/manual for practitioners.
  • communications to practitioners to raise awareness of the timeline and transition from Electronic Lodgment Service (ELS) to Standard Business Report (SBR).

Reducing paper activity statements

Attendees are concerned with enabling agents to ‘switch back on’ paper activity statements, especially in the situation where the clients lodges their own monthly activity statement and the practitioner lodges the quarterly activity statement. The Chair will investigate this issue further, as this scenario has been discussed at other forums.

Post meeting response


LWG 0810/06

Agenda Topic


Action item

Communicate to practitioner community the future of the ATO portal.



On 29 October 2014 a communication about the future of ATO portals was issued.


LWG Secretariat

    Last modified: 06 Jan 2015QC 43602