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08 Nov 2019 Closure of the ATO Portal

MEMBER 303 writes: 

Dear Editor, 

The ATO has advised the imminent closure of the Portal. In the past two weeks, it has been time saving to have the old Portal. 

Firstly, I feel that there are heavy traffic times for the ‘Online services for agents’. I feel that 8.00 - 9.00 am can be such a time. Sometimes I do log in in that time and I can be met with ‘Technical error’ and be turfed out of the website entirely. It is seamless to go into the old Portal. 

Secondly, regarding deceased estates, about 14 days ago, a longstanding client came to me with his sister. She is 72 and widowed and was led to believe that Centrelink will not deal with her until both her and her husband’s income tax returns were up to date. She was given a 31 October deadline. The ‘Online services for agents’ would not allow me to add him as a client. Today the ‘Online services for agents’ will not give me access even though 14 days ago I used the Portal to add him as a client.

I have written to the ATO about the effect on deceased clients of closing the Portal. Today, I still needed the Portal for this deceased client. Will that magically change on 29 November? 

Her situation is her late husband attended to all financial matters (they have 2 disabled adult children, so her life was and is fulsome). Her husband’s sudden death is still a raw emotion. Being able to lodge a ‘FINAL’ return for him, based solely on prefill data, means she can go back to Centrelink to re-apply for benefits. The Portal made this situation seamless – efficient for me and a distressing problem removed for his widow. 

Another side aspect arose in this case. She does not know if she has accessed all sources of her husband’s super. It would have been an advantage to check ‘Online services for agents’ for possible super accounts for her husband.

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