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On Tuesday 19 March 2013, Tax Counsel Stephanie Caredes CTA attended a meeting of the Electronic Advisory Working Group. Following the meeting, the ATO has issued the following key messages:

Electronic Lodgment for Large and SME taxpayers

The ATO has commenced moving small to medium businesses from paper Activity Statement lodgment to electronic channels. 

If you have clients with an annual turnover exceeding $20 million, the ATO will be contacting your clients to discuss lodging and paying activity statements electronically.

Under current legislation, taxpayers are required to lodge and pay their activity statements electronically if their GST turnover meets the electronic lodgment turnover threshold of $20 million. 

The ATO is continuing to support clients to transition to electronic channels.

The current penalty for not lodging or paying electronically is 5 penalty units ($850 per activity statement).

Electronic Funds Transfer (EFT) for Individual Income Tax Returns

This tax time (from 1 July 2013) the ATO will be paying most refunds electronically. When lodging your clients' individual income tax returns through the electronic lodgment service (ELS), you will need to provide financial institution details where your software has estimated a refund is due. 

Depending on arrangements in place with your clients, this could be your trust account or your client's bank account details.

AUSKey and Online Security

Before you can access ATO online services, you'll need to ensure you have created a secure login (as an individual) or registered for an AUSkey (for business and tax professionals). 

Anyone associated with your business, practice, or entity must have their own individual AUSkey to deal with us online on behalf of your Australian business number. AUSkey passwords are specific to the individual and should not be shared.

Those looking to commit fraud are constantly looking for ways to profit, so it is critical that you remain vigilant regarding online se curity and information. One way to remain vigilant is to regularly review your AUSkey holdings. Th e agent in your practice who holds the administrator AUSkey should review the AUSkeys registered to the practice. 

Tips and Links

  1. Refunds direct to bank accounts
    To ensure you are prepared for the changes, refer to Managing refunds after 1 July 2013.
  2. Review the Auskey holdings in your practice
    The broadcast issued to tax practitioners on 5 February outlines a step by step process for checking the credentials used for online interactions.


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