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On Thursday 7 November 2013, Tax Counsel Stephanie Caredes met with the ATO Tax Practitioner Advisory Group concerning the ATO’s approach to electronic service delivery. The ATO has noted these issues following the meeting:

Members acknowledged the Portal is going to be hard to maintain into the future, but stressed the new technology offer must at least support the current functionality available in the portal. The ATO intends to deliver at least the current functionality of the Portal  plus improved service offerings. As we map a solution, we must find opportunities. 

Members consider the following important:

  • The cost of software and additional ‘on costs’ eg updates and training of staff; 
  • There must be robust and affordable systems;
  • ATO needs to have a clear understanding of the external portal experience;
  • The opportunity for practitioners to co-design with software developers;
  • Not everyone is adopting use of the ‘cloud’ at the same pace;
  • Some clients do not update software until it becomes necessary;
  • Individuals and small businesses have not yet taken up standard business reporting;
  • Reliability of software to bring the information to the right labels on the tax return form;
  • Careful and supportive implementation strategy which might include a Commissioner’s guarantee in relation to penalties;
  • It is vital that tax practitioners are involved in consultation with software developers.  

Collaboration between tax professionals and the ATO will continue as we design the future of electronic services for taxpayers and tax professionals.

Members who seek further information in relation to the above should contact us at Tax Policy.