The ATO’s new practitioner lodgment service (PLS) is replacing its incumbent electronic lodgment service (ELS) as the primary lodgment channel (which will be “turned off” at the end of March 2017). Lodgments made using PLS will need to be made with standard business reporting (SBR)-enabled software packages. The PLS is looming larger on the horizon
Note that the ATO says the tax agent portal will continue to be provided, although the ATO says that there are no immediate plans to add any new functionality or services to the portals at this time. Further consultation and feedback may alter plans going forward.
While the ATO says it is working with software providers and professional associations to make sure the transition to PLS is as smooth as it can be, it is aware that there are some software providers out there that have been making a “progressive transition” from last July through to December this year.
It says that providers should be in a position to advise when SBR-enabled software is ready to use, although the ATO says that this is also another reason for it to keep the “back-up” option of accepting ELS lodgment until next March.
To help businesses make the move over to the PLS, the ATO has a range of services and support available. There is also a handy PLS help guide you can access any time, which is a quick reference of where to go and what to do if you need help using the PLS.
There is also the following support services and a document to download:
- PLS checklist – outlines the steps you need to take to prepare your practice to start lodging through the PLS, including some changes you may experience.
- PLS user guide – details the forms, reports and functions available through the PLS and provides tips on how to use them. It includes key error codes and how to resolve them. The guide supplements the supporting documentation provided with your software.
- Requesting a PLS deferral – a specific lodgment and payment deferral is available to you if you experience a system issue when using the PLS, which affects your ability to lodge by a due date.
- Or click the following link, Support for the practitioner lodgment service, which will download a 200kb PDF document that provides an interactive list of services available to interact with the ATO, keep up to date, and find more information and guidance.
Practitioners may find the following ATO video helpful in coming to grips with what SBR software will mean for their practice.
And if you have a small business client who needs an explanation about how SBR works, a video on the benefits of SBR has been released which may help explain the new system to them.