Institute of Certified Bookkeepers

The ATO Portal – Where has it Been and Where to Now?

The ATO have released statistics on Agent (Tax and BAS) use of the Portal for 2013/14.

Are you surprised that Agents mostly use the portal for:

  1. Accessing the “Client Accounts” (48.5m) and “Integrated Client Account” (35.8m)
  2. Activity Statements (19.6m) accessing and viewing

Tax Agents then use the portal to obtain the prefill information for tax returns (12.6m) and the lodgment lists for income tax (7.7m). There were 4.1m interactions with the portals to do with lodging activity statements but only 476,110 through the BAS Agent portal, BAS Agents also lodged 31k revisions to BAS's.

Comparing these to the Business Portal

  • 2.9m views of activity statements
  • 2.5m views of the accounts
  • 2.1m viewing payment options
  • and 1.7m lodging of activity statements

All in all I am a little surprised at how low the BAS Agent use of the portal appears to be. But with 9,000 registered BAS Agents, that would be an average of 53 BAS's each. Interesting that Tax Agents all together amend 17 times more activity statements than do BAS Agents, there are approximately four times more Tax Agents.

….and now

The ATO have been undertaking a significant review of the Portal (arguably for some time). ICB, through the BASAAG (BAS Agents Advisory Group of the ATO), has been involved in many discussions about the future of the portals.

The portals are not going away.

The portals will become even more stable (they have got significantly better although sometimes it doesn’t feel like it). We are hoping that the front end of the portals will become more user-friendly and the functionality improves.

All the signs are that the ATO have been listening and in conjunction with the SBR initiatives we should see some big wins in how the portal works.

Related References

  • Updated: 3rd March, 2016