With over 74.2% of individuals and over 95% of businesses using a tax agent, tax professionals play a key role in facilitating willing participation and compliance. The ATO respects the trust that comes with agent–client relationships, and we are working more closely with agents to ensure they are getting the support they need from us.
Innovations, service improvements and outreach activities for tax professionals are based on an extensive program of collaboration and consultation with the profession. The primary focus for the relationship is provided through the Tax Practitioner Stewardship Group and its related working groups.
The two 'Future of the Tax Profession' working groups, are co-chaired by representatives of the tax profession and the ATO, met during the year to discuss a range of issues. These included the transition to the new practitioner lodgment service (PLS), future development of the portals, and the provision of new services through practice management software. The working groups seek to understand and deal with trends and environmental factors affecting the future of the profession.
In March 2016, the Commissioner outlined his commitments to the tax profession, including delivering technology improvements such as the PLS, portal upgrades and enhancements to practice management software.
We held two webcasts on 1 June 2016 to discuss some of the significant changes on the horizon. The webcasts, viewed live by more than 2,500 people, brought together ATO leaders and representatives from the tax profession and software developers to talk about the transition to the PLS, cloud authentication and other digital innovations.