Corporate myGovID frustrations revealed and (partially) allayed

The Corporate Tax Association (CTA) is an advocacy body representing major companies in Australia on corporate tax issues. Late last year, on behalf of its members, the CTA forwarded to the ATO a list of questions that its members had asked in relation to the rollout of myGovID.

As Tax & Super Australia’s members will in all likelihood be also grappling with issues that myGovID has thrown in tax practitioners’ paths, the answers that the ATO has so far provided may be instructional.

Below are the questions asked, with the ATO’s responses in italics.

The creation of a myGovID account is linked to an email address. Why does it have to be an email address (rather than a unique username)? What happens when that email address is no longer valid, can it be changed?

An email address is required when setting up myGovID as it is unique to the individual. Currently, you must use the same email that you used to associate the identity with the documents used to set up your myGovID, however in future you will be able to change or update the email address if required. Until this is available it is important to note that if you have set up your myGovID with an email address you can no longer access, you can still continue to use myGovID as an identifier as long as you do not delete the app.

When logging onto the Business Portal with myGovID, is it currently operational and does it look like how it is now when logging on using an AUSkey?

The business portal can currently be accessed with either myGovID and AUSkey, noting that AUSkey will no longer be available after the end of March 2020. When using myGovID to log in, you will have an ABN selection screen that will appear if you have more than one ABN linked in Relationship Authorisation Manager. This replaces the need to have a separate AUSkey for each ABN you may have.

How will it work for replacing device AUSKeys used for STP and whether there will be a way to test it before cutover to ensure we can continue to meet our STP obligations?

If you use Standard Business Reporting (SBR)-enabled software you can use RAM to create machine credentials to interact with government online services through your software. A machine credential is installed on a device and enables you to interact directly with government online services through your business software.

If you use desktop or locally hosted software, you will need to create a machine credential in RAM. This performs the same function as an administrator or standard AUSkey in your software. Your digital service provider will let you know when your software has been updated.

If you use cloud-based SBR enabled software, you will not need to create a machine credential. Instead, your digital software provider will install it on their server.

Your digital service provider will advise you when you can make the switch to the new machine credential.

For more information, see the RAM website.

Why aren’t AUSkey administrators able to manage migration without the need to introduce people who have no day-to-day involvement?

To commence the transition to the new solution, the principal authority of the business (which is the eligible associate as listed on the Australian Business Register), will need to set up their myGovID and link the business in RAM. The principal authority is the person who is legally responsible for the business (ie director, public officer etc) and needs to initiate the transition. If the principal authority wants to delegate the ability to manage all authorisations on behalf of their business, they can authorise at least one other person as an authorisation administrator in RAM.

We have been able to access myGovID for corporate trustee entities. However, the system does not currently allow access to the trust entity itself (which has a different ABN/TFN). The ATO name for this is “the trustee for the trust”. This is important for the superannuation industry because super funds are structured as trust arrangements and it is very common for super funds to hold investments via wholly owned Australian unit trusts. Hence myGovID does not yet allow us access to the information that we need. Can the ATO confirm that myGovID access will be extended for the above, and is the ATO able to provide an expected timeframe for this?

Currently, only “individual” associates listed against an Australian Business Number (ABN) on the Australian Business Register (ABR) can link their myGovID using RAM.

A solution for entities “non-individual” associates and entities that use alternate representatives will be available in January to enable ABNs to be manually linked in RAM. Once this entity has been manually linked, you will be able to manage authorisation for this business in RAM. The ATO will be publishing information about this process in January, including step-by-step instructions for what these entities will need to do.

(The ATO informs us that it has recently published some information videos on its ATO TV channel [see what’s available here].) The ATO has provided digital resources and webinars to help tax professionals understand these new platforms.

Website Comments

  1. Suzanne Buissink

    I found the myGovID allowed me greater freedom of access to the tax agent portal. I can use any smart device or any computer to access the tax portal – my email address and the myGovID code confirmation are all that is needed (app on my phone). I am wondering if it just my level of access that allows this or can my employees do the same? I believe this may have created an opportunity to hack, change or steal data that could arise from such easy access.

    • Nicole Slattery

      I agree also, that staff can use there devices out side of business hours, at party’s to show other people. Will there be restrictions people can set to stop this from happening?
      At least with Auskey the portal access was linked to the office computer.

      • Andrea

        Reply to Suzanne and Nicole. I spoke to the ATO about these problems and their response was this was my problem not theirs. I have supplied my stall with old smart phones with SIM cards that work in the office. This they leave in their desks when they go home at night. The problem we have is that using their Medicare ID their name is Robert B Stone whilst in the ATO their name is Robert Bob Stone. As the two don’t match, they are denied access

        • Hass Ayache

          Nothing stops staff installing the myGovID app on their personal phone and still accessing the portal outside of business hours though. Just a thought.


    I am a Tax Agent and Accountant not a Computer Technician. Why should I have to pay someone to do all these things, why should I have to buy a smart phone, which means that I have to pay a phone company to use it just so the ATO can cover up its short comings. They need to get their current system working properly before embarking on new projects under the guise of making it easier for us. As usual most of these thing are designed for the “Big Four”. To get a reasonable internet service I have to use a “Hot Spot” which is expensive. It will not be long before the hacker turn their attention to these “smart phones” and have a field day.

  3. Tony Humphrys

    I find it a very slow and tedious process to login to the Portal now. The steps as I see are:
    1. Log into ATO Portal
    2. Enter Email Address
    3. Note the 4-digit code
    4. Log into Mobile Phone
    5. Log into MyGovID App
    6. Enter the 4-digit code
    7. Select the ABN Entity
    8. Select the RAN
    This process is very time consuming and the Portal logs you out after a very short time and then start all over again. It discourages agents from looking up details which is not a good thing.

    The whole process needs to be made more efficient and Agents able to set the auto logout time delay.

  4. Raj

    Agreed. I don’t have a Smart phone but I access the business portal for more than 20 companies in the Group. I have to pocket out to buy for this purpose. Disappointing change!

  5. Clancy

    I have been searching the internet for the last 3 hours just trying to get a straight answer to one simple question? Can this new thing work on laptops/desktops?

    Quite often businesses use a thing called a PC – personal computer – you may have heard of them? The office where i work uses PC’s, there are no ‘Iphones’ or such in the office.

  6. Meghan Donohoe

    The myGovID access to the ATO is fine. The access to the ABR is not. The only entities I can get access to in the ABR via myGOVID login and RAM are entities for which I am legally associated i.e. public officer, director, beneficiary or trustee. So if i login to the ABR via the Auskey login, I can access all clients for whom I am recognised as a CONTACT i.e. tax agent. Under myGovID, this can only be done this access is lost. So I have been advised that the only way to get this access after 31/3/2020 is to contact the ATO by telephone and they will manually do it BUT only if they confirm that i am a contact. The alternative … get our clients to download the MyGovID and then they have to authorise me to become a contact. I spent 2 hours on the phone with two separate gentlemen with the ATO MyGovID RAM advisory team last Thursday who eventually told me they understood the frustration BUT there was nothing they could do. So the advice was for them to escalate the query and I would receive a response within 72 hours and I should wait and hope that the access guidelines for MyGovID would change. I don’t think that is good enough. Surely when the change to the login systems were considered, a reduction of access and an increase in administrative workload to the pre existing authorised contacts for clients was not one of the purposes of the change. PLEASE if anyone knows a way to work around this quite ridiculous problem, I am all ears!!

  7. Rosemary

    Well I can’t even access MyGov ID and I’m a tax agent. First off my drivers licence wouldn’t work – it had a comma between my 2 middle names . I rang MyGov ID and got that fixed and they advised to try and set it up under a new email. So I did that, then it didn’t like something else so I tried another email address – what has now happened is that I have it partly set up on 3 emails – thanks to people at MyGov ID who didn’t know what to do. I then purchased a passport and added it to one of the email addresses – guess what it still won’t work and is still basic – have been trying for days to get onto them again – finally in queue now 58 minutes waiting and not sure if they’ll even be able to help. It’s bad enough with COVID19 cutting my income but if I can’t get MyGov Id fixed then I can’t work at all!

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