The practitioner lodgment service (PLS), the new electronic channel for tax agents to lodge returns and other reports with the ATO, has been released for Tax Time 2016.
Replacing the existing electronic lodgment service, the PLS supports direct lodgment from the practitioner's commercial practice management software, provided it is SBR-enabled. Such software uses standard messaging formats and definitions that have been developed as part of the SBR program, a whole-of-government initiative led by the ATO.
The PLS will become the primary method for tax practitioners to interact electronically with the ATO, with all electronic tax return lodgments by tax agents planned to transition to the PLS by 31 March 2017.
The practical benefit for tax practitioners is a streamlined process that avoids the need to switch and transfer information between systems. The PLS is more interactive, enabling ATO-held data such as tax history and third-party data to be fed into the tax agent's systems. Changes that tax agents make to their client lists will also be reflected instantly.
The use of SBR-enabled practice management software will also simplify and reduce the time and cost associated with collating information and submitting reports to government more generally, as information can be reused for reporting to other government agencies.
To ensure the transition runs smoothly, the ATO has been working closely to support software developers.