The Australian Taxation Office (ATO) has activated its new service Online services for business portal that replaces the existing Business Portal. The initiative means the Online services for business portal is now the default service for every business that interacts with the ATO online.
“The Business Portal has served us well over the last 17 years, but it’s time to replace it with a much more contemporary service that’s been developed with business so we know they’ll enjoy using it,” ATO Deputy Commissioner, Deborah Jenkins, said.
“We’ve done extensive testing with clients. In the spirit of designing with the end-user in mind, many businesses have been involved in the development of the service from the very beginning, and we are grateful for the valuable feedback we’ve received,” Jenkins added.
“We’ve made many tweaks and improvements to the service as a result and continue to work through how we can further improve the experience for all businesses as they transition to our online platform.”
Online services for business has been designed to improve the ease of interaction with the ATO online – it can be accessed via mobile devices including phones and tablets – and offers businesses a secure environment in which to report their tax and superannuation to the tax office.
On top of the services that the previous Business Portal offered, Online services for business means its users will now be able to:
- View and print tax returns and income tax history.
- Create payment plans.
- Switch between reporting channels for different businesses with a single log in
- Customise their homepage
- Access new secure mail subjects.
“The new time-saving features include the ‘switch ABN’ function, that allows clients to easily move between the businesses they manage without having to log out and back in again,” Jenkins said.
“Businesses have also told us they love being able to organise a payment plan with us online using the service rather than calling us, which saves them precious time.”
The Deputy Commissioner reported that there has already been in increase in participation from small-business owners who have made the switch to the new service.
“Businesses in the professional, scientific and technical services and construction sectors have been quick to jump on board,” Jenkins said. “We’d like to see more of manufacturing, retail trade, health care and social assistance businesses also start using the service.”
Access to Online services for business is via the myGovID log-in, as was the case for the Business Portal. Businesses who didn’t use the old system will need will need to set up a myGovID and link that log-in to their business’s via the Relationship Authorisation Manager.
“We understand this year has, and continues to be, challenging for many clients,” Jenkins said. “We know businesses have a lot on their plate so we will maintain the electronic superannuation tool (eSAT) and Business Portal for a transition period over the coming months to help users adjust to the new service.
“We are here to support businesses through this transition and whilst the new service will ensure an improved experience across a range of services, it is important to note that it is not a replacement for the professional advisory services provided by tax professionals,” Jenkins added.
Information about Online services for business, including guides on how to use the system, is available at www.ato.gov.au/OSB.