Date set for shut down of tax agent and BAS agent portals

The ATO has announced that the date for the shut down of the portals will be 29 November. Specifically at 11.30pm AEDT.

The earlier than expected timing is, the ATO says, to clear the decks before implementing its “Activity Statement Financial Processing” project (ASFP), the name it has given to a system enhancement that aims to move all activity statement and franking deficit tax financial data onto one new system.

For some time now, the ATO has been making efforts to transition tax practitioners from the incumbent tax agent and BAS agent portals to its new Online services for agents system. 

A public beta version closed in August last year, and since then detailed information has been made available, as well as information on related systems such as AUSkey.

With most practitioners now using the new system (about 70% of tax agents and 84% of BAS agents), the ATO has not updated the incumbent systems for several months. It is however concerned for the few remaining practitioners who have yet to take the Online services for agents system on board.

Although the new system was intended to improve the functionality overall, the ATO has admitted that some functions are not at optimum levels, including PAYG summary reports, some non-lodgment advice and some aspects of dealing with deceased estates.

Practitioners who have not made the transition are urged to do so at the earliest opportunity. The deadline of 29 November is not that far away. Readers should feel free to make a comment below.

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Website Comments

  1. Peter McMahon

    The new on line services system is defective in that it does not access all the clients that the Portal does. In particular deceased clients are no longer accessible and also clients who haven’t lodged for a number of years are not accessible. The message appears “”Contact the ATO to discuss. This is not satisfactory due to the number of clients each year this affects.
    There are some benefits in the new system such as access to more historical tax return information but this in no way compensates for loss of access to clients data altogether

  2. Diane Leith

    I agree. I had to go back to 2003 for a client and the old portal had more information.
    I could not access details of a recently deceased client, who was still on my client list. It was most frustrating – I couldn’t do the date of death return – was told by the ATO to do a paper return. Not satisfactory. And client’s partner was not impressed that I could not do it online either.
    Apart from that I find the new portal quicker and easier to use – especially line entries of lodged returns.

  3. Stephen Barker

    I use both systems, however a lot of the information I require I cannot find on the new portal. It is not user friendly. With regards to contacting the ATO? This is surely a joke as it takes a minimum of 30 minutes each call. Who pays for my time? if its not the client (and why should they wear ATO incompetence) and its not the ATO, then that leaves me. Not very satisfactory.

  4. Anthony Davis

    I agree Peter, to not be able to access deceased clients is ridiculous. The person has died – so who are we going to ask what income they had. Likewise for clients who have not lodged for some time and probably have little or no records to work with. This is typical of people making big decisions that cause problems for other people. It is not the desision maker who will be affected

  5. Rhonda Hoddinott

    I am of the opinion that the shutdown should not occur at this time of the year. This is the busiest time, experienced staff is in short supply.

  6. Frank Cherry

    Dealing with tax returns for deceased clients and deceased estates is traumatic enough because the clients are often friends who you have built up a close relationship with over many years (some nearly 40 years) and the family members you are dealing with are mourning the loss a loved one.
    The current Online Services system for dealing with deceased estates just adds unnecessary levels of difficulty to an already difficult situation.
    The people designing these systems don’t appreciate that this industry is not simply filling in forms, it actually involves real people with real emotions who suffer real trauma.
    In fact, the claim that the system “is not at an optimum level for some aspects of dealing with deceased estates” is a ludicrous understatement. The truth is the new system is a total failure on all aspects of dealing with deceased taxpayers and deceased estates.

  7. D Sharp

    The Portal Works for me – I couldnt find info on the Online Services either so had to call ATO it took over an hour to get through
    So again the ATO is forcing users to adapt to their system imposed on us – I agree (above comment) The Portal should be avaiable until at lest next April when
    most will have more time to acquaint with the new system. At the moment to time consuming.

  8. M Shen

    I have updated client’s details (incl. contact and postal address) on the ATO’s Online Services yesterday, but it will not print out the report as old portal showing what was the old details and what you have just updated. Hopefully the Online Services will produce the same report as old portal soon.

  9. Peter Berketa

    It’s ridiculous that the Tax Office can simply demand that all tax agents and bas agents use the ATO Online Services when there are so many known (and unknown) issues with the system. Commercial operations (such as banks, airlines, retail businesses etc) would quickly go broke if they implemented new systems that had so many problems. It appears that the Tax Office believes it can bring in their new systems whenever they like, regardless of the problems they have, because tax agents and bas agents cannot move to another operator. I believe the Tax Office should operate like a true business where they treat their “clients” and “customers” (Terms that the ATO use) like real customers. In the real world (not the ATO systems) such error riddled system would not be tolerated.

  10. John Jeffreys, Tax Counsel, Tax and Super Australia

    With regard to the ability to access the information of deceased clients, I am aware that the ATO is working on a “fix” for this problem. Unfortunately, I am not permitted to discuss the details of this at the moment. Later this week I will be attending a meeting of the Tax Practitioner Stewardship Group, which is run by very senior ATO personnel. I hope to obtain more information at this time and (I hope) be able to give feedback to members.

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