It’s time to switch to the PLS, says ATO

The ATO has announced that from 1 April 2018 the practitioner lodgment service (PLS) is the only electronic channel that can be used to lodge the Individual tax return 2017. “If you haven’t started using the PLS you will need to make the switch by 1 April in order to lodge all 2017 and future year returns,” the ATO says.

The transition to the PLS is about making software Standard Business Reporting (SBR) enabled. SBR is built into business and accounting software, and incorporates standard terms used in government legislation and reporting.

The ATO says generally a practice’s digital service provider will let practitioners know what to do, however the ATO recommends tax practices switch as soon as service providers say they are ready. It also recommends using its PLS checklist to help with the transition.

Transition tips
The ATO has also provided tips for using the PLS.

1/ Check your AUSkey credentials are up to date

For desktop users, you will need to set lodgment permissions. Watch the ATO’s video or refer to authorising users to registered agent numbers.

For cloud-based software users, you will need to notify the ATO of your hosted SBR software service. And you can watch the ATO video to see how to notify it.

2/ Add new clients to your list before lodging in the PLS

If your client is not on your list, you will receive an authorisation error. Add new clients using the client update service in the PLS, or through the portals.

3/ Use pre-lodge checks

The PLS software you use may have pre-lodge or validation checking functionality built in. This option lets you check for errors at any stage of preparation before lodging. This can reduce delays in processing by resolving errors before lodgment which the ATO may otherwise have needed to contact you about.

4/ Use the ATO’s support products

The ATO has a range of support material to help, such as the PLS checklist, which includes some of the tips listed here. You can use its user guide to help answer questions you may have, and a list of general errors is available to help solve errors where lodgment hasn’t been accepted.

5/ Make sure your software is up to date

If you are using desktop software, you need to make sure you do any software updates when they are requested by your digital service provider.

Feedback already

Many agents have already made the switch to the PLS. The ATO has provided some of their feedback (see video below) on their experiences.

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