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21 Nov 14 On changes to the ABR website - the ATO responds

In 2014 TAXVINE No 41 (7 November 2014), Member 173 wrote:

"I found out today after ages on the phone with the ATO that the ABR website has had changes applied with AUSkey permissions. Apparently only administrator users (effectively only the tax agent) are now able to make ABN applications. Due to these changes, my staff, who are all standard AUSkey users, are now unable to apply for ABNs for my clients despite them being able to do so up to a few months ago. The ATO know this is an issue but standard AUSkey users are apparently not going to have this feature reinstated until after the upgrade in January 2015. So one of those administrative jobs that staff used to do for me now must be done only by me, an overworked sole practitioner, thanks to software 'improvement'. 

What a great use of my time, and surely clients will be happy to pay my charge rate to register a basic ABN for them."


"Standard AUSkey holders are unable to access the Australian Business Register (ABR) via the tax agent portal to perform any function. This has always been the case, there have been no changes applied with AUSkey permissions.

Based on feedback from tax agents, the governments ‘Reducing Business Costs (RBC)’ budget initiative will provide more flexibility for agents and their staff to access the ABR on behalf of clients. From 2 January 2015, Standard AUSkey holders in tax practices will be able to authenticate and perform functions in the ABR once the Administrator AUSkey holder has granted permission via an access manager functionality. 

We are aware that many Tax Agents use the unauthenticated site (i.e. stand in the shoes of the client) when applying for an ABN for their client, simply adding their Tax Agent Number (TAN) into the application linking it to Tax Agent. No AUSkey is required, where this approach is used."