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A 'win-win' for BAS Agents and ATO with lodgement deferral made simpler: New digital function launch.

Requesting ATO lodgement deferrals set to get easier in late April.

The Australian Tax Office (ATO) will launch a new lodgement deferral function in Online services for agents in late April, just in time for the fourth quarter lodgement deadline.

ATO Senior Director of Engagement and Support, Felix Manero, says the new function provides a more streamlined digital process and will dramatically cut the time it takes to lodge a deferral request.

“A significant proportion of the 125,000 deferral requests received by the ATO for the 2020–21 tax year were considered low-risk deferrals (i.e., agent assessed deferrals), which with the new function will soon be quicker to lodge and get a response on,” Felix said. “This is a win-win on a number of fronts.

“We know how frustrated BAS and Tax Agents have previously been, when they just needed an extra week or so but had to figure out which form to download and complete.”

The new function will allow agents to request up to 40 deferrals at a time and view requests they’ve submitted in the last 60 days. It interacts live with ATO systems to pre-populate information for the client/s they’re seeking a deferral for, saving them time and ensuring the ATO has accurate information to process their request.

“As the quality of information we receive will improve, we’ll also be able to improve our processes,” continued Felix. “This means we’ll be able send the request off more quickly to the respective areas for consideration, and for low-risk deferrals the ATO will give a response within 48 hours.”

The new function has been designed in collaboration with members of the profession and the professional associations. The ATO has also conducted a significant amount of consultation, and at the end of the month will transition to live BETA testing with BAS and Tax Agents around Australia. They are expecting that all registered agents will be able to use the new function by the end of April.

“Throughout this process we really listened to feedback from the profession,” said Felix.  “Through consultation and co-design, we can now provide a significantly better lodgment deferral experience.”

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