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MEMBER 224 writes:

"Member 212 - see 2012 TAXVINE No 41 (26 October 2012) - recently wrote in praise of the pothole [Portal] and ELS, and sliced bread.

A short clip from some recent ATO materials:

'The ATO has made a formal decision to decommission the electronic lodgement service (ELS) and transition the services it provides to Standard Business Reporting (SBR) by 1 July 2015.

ELS will be decommissioned from 30 June 2016.'

Of course, we all expect the changeover to be thoroughly smooth, successful, and problem free."

THE TAX INSTITUTE'S TAX COUNSEL, STEPHANIE CAREDES, COMMENTS: "The Tax Institute sought an official response from the ATO in relation to this issue. The ATO has advised the following:

The ATO is committed to move all forms and services currently available in ELS to an alternative ATO channel. The key target system for the transition of ELS forms and services is SBR, however some forms and services may not be offered in SBR due to lodgement volumes and other business requirements (i.e. forms no longer valid for tax purpose eg. baby bonus).

The ELS2SBR Transition Project is progressing the early stages of design and analysis, and delivery dates for product delivery and decommissioning of ELS have not been confirmed. However the intent of the project is to deliver all ELS forms and services in SBR over a 2 to 3 year period commencing from July 2014.

ELS will be decommissioned once all forms and services it currently supports are available in SBR. There will also be a period where ELS and SBR will operate in parallel to allow agents and software developers to develop and implement the required SBR enabled software.

The timeframe for the ELS to SBR transition is proposed as three releases plus a decommissioning process (proposed timeframes are subject to confirmation):

  • Deliver all forms and services currently in ELS to SBR over a 2 - 3 year period commencing July 2014.
  • Run ELS and SBR in parallel for the transition period eg. 2 - 3 years from July 2014 until all forms and services are available in SBR.
  • Run ELS and SBR in parallel for at least one further year after all forms and services are available in SBR.
  • Decommission ELS once all forms and services are available in SBR (possibly July 2017 or July 2018).

Hopefully this clarifies this issue."

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