ATO Announces outages to their services

Information around the ATO online services outages will start to disseminate from the ATO soon, with major communications across multiple platforms, clients and Agents, expected to commence in September.

  1. All ATO Services are expected to be offline from 20 Dec 2019 to 13 Jan 2020 - the stop/go date for the final decision on this will be made in November.
  2. Services impacted include all portals (BAS, Tax, Online), ABR, STP – everything!
  3. This shutdown is to roll out major changes to the Online Services, and the information that will be visible and available to Agents.

Key changes being rolled out:

  • New screens for account views - this will provide more detailed information about the account transactions - you will be able to see the split between the different elements of AS lodgements, from an aggregated view to a detailed view. Note - this will not include the ability to drill through to underlying data to see the split between, for example, 1A and 1B.
  • Tax Accounts will not be available to BAS Agents (precluded by legislation).
  • SGC Accounts will not be available to BAS Agents (at this stage).
  • Further enhancements to the ability to arrange Payment Plans online for clients, including the ability to enter into Direct Debit arrangements.
  • Activity Statement Due dates - where a client lodges electronically, through an agent, the Online Services Portal, myGov and Business Portal will reflect the Agent concessional due date, not the legislated due date. The plan is that this will flow through to accounting software (eg: Xero Tax, GovReports etc).
  • Little known fact - if a client is lodging via STP, but still lodges paper AS themselves, they are considered to be an electronic lodger, and get the current 2-week extension by default.
  • The due date will be the due date - that means that if the concessional date is reflected because an agent has lodged electronically previously, but the client decides that they will lodge directly themselves, the concessional date will still apply.

ATO Considerations:

STP Lodgements - these will still be accepted by the ATO, and receipts issued, however they will not be processed during the shutdown period, so details of the STP submissions will not be visible on client or employee accounts until the system is back online.

Late Lodgements/Penalties - the ATO will be ensuring that there are no punitive actions regarding inability to lodge during system downtime.

If you are a BAS Agent, please ensure that you subscribe to the ATO newsroom, and keep an eye out for further information around this from September onwards

Source: Cassandra Scott, AAT Director