The Australian Taxation Office has rolled out its new online services platform for SMEs and will soon be withdrawing the business portal it replaces.
The change means that SMEs must start familiarizing themselves with the new ‘online services for businesses’ platform before the company portal is withdrawn at the end of July.
Work is in progress for a while to improve the way small businesses interact with the ATO online, and the new online services platform went live in early April.
So how does it work and what should SMEs know?
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What are the new ATO online services for businesses?
The ATO Business Online Services Platform is now the default way for SMEs to interact directly with the ATO online. It replaces the Business Portal, which had held this role for 17 years.
Business operators can use the platform to manage their tax and super obligations, view and print tax returns and income tax histories, and create payment plans with the ATO.
The platform can also be used to view Single Touch payroll reports, register for GST and pay-as-you-go deductions, and access the Small Business Superannuation Clearinghouse.
The new platform is an updated, more contemporary version of the Company Portal, and business owners can access it on multiple devices, switching between their different businesses as needed without having to log in multiple times.
The platform also replaces the old one electronic pension verification tool, or eSAT.
Who is it for?
The new platform is intended for all trade operators who previously used the trade portal to interact with the ATO. There is a separate platform for individuals and independent traders.
The online services platform for business does not replace the tax agent services platform.
How it works?
To start using the online services platform, business owners can log in using the same myGovID they used for the business portal.
If you have never interacted with the ATO online before, you will first need to set up a myGovID and then link it to your company through ATOs. Relationship Authorization Manager.
Why did the ATO have to replace the old trade portal?
In April, ATO Assistant Commissioner Deborah Jenkins noted While the Business Portal had âserved us wellâ for nearly two decades, it needed modernization and additional functionality for business owners.
The ATO said the new platform was designed to make it easier for business owners to meet their tax and business obligations and, most importantly, save time by doing more tasks online rather than ‘on the phone. This includes the ability to organize a payment plan online, which Jenkins says can save business owners “precious time.”
While the new platform is a direct replacement for the Company Portal, Jenkins said the ATO will work both during a transition period to help business owners adjust over what has been and continues to be a âdifficultâ year.
Have small businesses been involved in this process?
Writing on LinkedIn this week, ATO Deputy Commissioner Andrew Watson noted small businesses participated in testing the platform during its beta phase, which took place in late 2020.
An ATO spokesperson said SmartCompany 126 customers participated in private beta testing between October and December 2020, and 25 of those customers represented 14 small businesses.
The ATO also consulted 93 clients during the design phase of the new platform, including 42 representing small businesses, and met regularly with the ATO’s Small Business Stewardship Group, which includes representatives from the ATO. ‘industry.
The engagement and feedback from small businesses has been “very valuable” in designing and improving the platform, the spokesperson said.
During the public beta phase, between January and April, small businesses accounted for 49,295 of the 79,709 transactions mapped on the platform. Since the platform’s launch on April 9, small businesses have accounted for 443,847 of the 910,044 transactions mapped.
What has been the response so far?
In April, the ATO said it saw immediate adoption among companies in the professional, scientific and technical sector and the construction industry. However, at the time, he was hoping to see more companies in manufacturing, retail, healthcare and social assistance switch to the new platform.
Since the start of the public beta on January 20, approximately 416,000 unique users have accessed the new online services for the business platform, representing approximately 395,000 businesses.
ATO says the number of companies accessing the platform continues to increase, with recent reports indicating that 66% of ATO customers have now switched to the new platform.
Where can I access ATO online services?
Commercial operators can visit the ATO website here to log in to either online services or the company portal.