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11 Oct 2019 AUSkey and manage ABN connections are being replaced

Member 273 writes: 

Dear Tax Institute,  

When logging in to the Tax Agent Portal, we see the following message: 

AUSkey and manage ABN connections are being replaced 

"After 31 March 2020 you will be required to use an alternative credential to access government online services on behalf of a business. For detailed information about what you need to do, visit https://www.abr.gov.au/mynewkey." 

1.  Firstly, whilst I understand the ATO would like to move forward with this implementation, it could not come at a worse time. Historically, things take forever to implement as the instructions currently go round and round in circles. Clicking on the above website is no exception in its current form. In case they have forgotten, March to May is ridiculously busy for all tax agents for us to even spare a few hours rolling this out in our practices when I can't even work out what is going on currently. 

2. Secondly, the website currently points to people who own iPhone 6 and above. And if we don't? Is the ATO expecting us to all rush out and buy iPhones or are they still not ready to roll this system out yet to include Android users? I don't believe they are allowed to stipulate what kind of devices that can access their "solution" to Auskey – perhaps the version, maybe, but definitely not the type of device. It's restrictive on trade and excludes the other half of the tax profession who do not own iPhones (clearly myself included). 

3.  While security is something of an essential when dealing with taxpayer information, I am not altogether comfortable with biometric logins. Whilst I am happy to use authenticator apps that generate passwords like we would to log in to internet banking, I do not feel that every tax agent would be on board with this idea. At the best of times, my children borrow take my phone and start tapping away at the apps, so I am not comfortable to be reliant on my phone to log in to an app. My work is work, and it should not start creeping into my private life. 

I cannot tell you the increased amount of administration time that has added to my practice, and no doubt every other practice in this country. Whilst the ATO would still go ahead and implement this, it would be great if they can make the timing July/August, when we are less busy. But that might be too obvious of an idea.

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