Accountants have been urged to follow up with their digital service providers for service updates as the ATO passes a milestone in its transition to the practitioner lodgement service (PLS).
On 1 April, PLS became the only electronic channel to lodge individual tax returns, following a staggered implementation process since 1 April 2017 that has seen company tax returns, trust tax returns, SMSF annual returns, fund income tax returns, partnership returns, and FBT returns move over to the PLS.
Speaking on the ATO’s live webcast, assistant commissioner Andrew Watson said 65 per cent of 2017 individual income tax returns have been lodged through PLS prior to 1 April, and he has advised tax agents to communicate with their digital service provider (DSP) for any service updates.
“We are well over halfway towards the target to be completely in PLS. Since the start of tax time last year 1 July 2017, we had 4 million returns coming through the channel,” said Mr Watson.
“Make sure you are reading communications from your service providers — some of you may have an update to install to enable you to have PLS capability from 1 April.
“Some of you, if you have a cloud provider, there is probably nothing you need to do because the magic will be behind-the-scenes,” he added.
“But look at the information your digital services provide you on your particular product to ensure you have the latest software version.”
Mr Watson noted that activity statements would be next in line for the transition from the electronic lodgement service, but did not give a clear indication of a timeline for which statements would be turned off on a form-by-form basis.
Mr Watson said work is still being done with DSPs to ensure a complete transition to the PLS but is confident that activity statements will make the move by December.
“From an ATO point of view, we are fine with that because we know all those providers are committed to that yearning to finish off transitioning out of ELS into PLS,” said Mr Watson.
“We are working with the digital providers around when we switch those forms off.
“At this stage, we will confirm shortly with the tax agents, but we are looking at the end of this calendar year or around 15 December, just before the end of the calendar year, to finish that move for activity statements.”
By Jotham Lian
11 April 2018