On 18 November 2014, Tax Counsel Thilini Wickramasuriya FTI attended meetings of the ATO’s Future Tax Industry Working Group for 2015/16 and 2020. The groups are comprised of members who are representatives of professional associations, tax practitioners, software developers and the ATO.
At the meeting of the 2015/16 subgroup, discussion focussed on the following issues:
- The transition to SBR resulting in ELS being unavailable for Tax Time 2016. Members asked the ATO to communicate their project plan in relation to this transition with a clear timeline. The ATO dispelled the myth that this will result in tax practitioners no longer being involved in compliance work in the near future due to the potential adoption of a standard chart of accounts.
- The Portal being migrated to an ato.gov.au platform. ATO dispelled the myth that this will result in the Portal being “switched off” in the near future. Tax practitioners will still log on to the Portal as they currently do and the transition will simply mean certain functions on the Portal will be quicker and easier to use. Members spent time prioritising current functions on the Portal which should be migrated to the new platform in the next 6-12 months.
At the meeting of the 2020 subgroup, discussion focussed on the following issues:
- Changes impacting on the tax profession and the tax system in the long term such as offshoring, demographics, technology and broadening of advice provided.
- Members asked the ATO to publicise its blueprint for reinvention. The ATO indicated that it will do so once it is finalised internally.
- Members envisioned tax practitioners being involved in less low level compliance work in the long term. Practitioners would instead be involved earlier, in more advisory work and in creating and reviewing data before it is input into the SBR system.
Members who seek further information in relation to the above should contact us at Tax Policy.