Extracted from www.fambiz.org.au
The ATO is undergoing fundamental change that will impact us all. There is obvious need for Australia’s tax system to be designed for the majority of taxpayers who do the right thing; not for the few who don’t. To do this, the ATO is being reinvented. It’s transforming how it goes about its core business, and is becoming more contemporary and service-oriented. Now into its third year of reinvention, the ATO has launched the first of many new products and approaches with a new online look and experience.
The launch is the beginning of something big. We’re entering a new era of continuous evolution on the ATO website, driven by the taxpayers. Our feedback and needs, plus the ever-changing technology, is what’s guiding the continual improvement of the online experience.
What’s handy about the ATO app?
People expect a range of easy to access, secure and convenient channels that can be used when and how they want – including more through digital means. We love apps and want more information and services available on mobile devices. The ATO app puts tax and super help in your hand, making it easier for you to conduct your affairs on the go, at a time and location that suits you. If you’re an individual taxpayer, small business owner or self-managed super fund trustee, you can access relevant info and a number of helpful tools all in one place.
What’s handy about the ATO app for the individual taxpayer? Here’s a quick list:
- ABN lookup
- Find your lost super
- Check the progress of your return
- Tax withheld calculator
- Payment plan estimator
- Set key date alerts so you don’t fall behind on your tax and super obligations
- News and Updates
- Plus the myDeductionstool allows you to record your deductions, store photographs of receipts, record car trips, and back-up and share your data throughout the financial year. Then by using this deductions data, your tax return will be pre-filled.
The ATO app also offers plenty for small business owners:
- Business performance check tool
- Employee or contractor decision tool
- Fuel tax credit calculator
- Super guarantee contributions and Super guarantee eligibility decision tools
- Look at key dates and set reminders for tax and super obligations
- Access to Small Business Assist where you can enter a question and it will find the answer
- The Small Business Newsroom with all the latest info and updates on small business matters.
The app can help with your superannuation too:
- SMSF Assist, where you can type in a question and receive an answer
- Access your super to view or consolidate your accounts
- Find lost super
- SMSF checklists
- Resources such as informational videos, key rates and dates, record-keeping requirements and tips, and useful links.
There’s also a strong focus on ensuring a smooth online experience no matter what device you’re using. The site will be easier to use on smaller screens, with larger, touch-friendly buttons, user-friendly mobile menus, and larger text. With more and more people searching for information on smaller devices, this change is vital if the ATO are to keep up with client expectations.
Stop the press: how voice authentication is making it easier for you to access ATO services
The ATO issued on 1 December 2015, an important, and very relevant, Media release on the topic of “Voice authentication making it easier to access ATO services”.
Here are the key points:
- For more than a year, the ATO has been using voice authentication to verify taxpayers’ identity.
- Since September 2014, more than 1.3 million taxpayers have enrolled their voiceprints and have been using their voiceprints to authenticate themselves when calling the ATO.
- The ATO is improving access to online services through the introduction of voice authentication in the ATO app.
- Assistant Commissioner John Dardo says the extension of voice authentication, to the ATO mobile app, will provide individuals and sole traders with faster, easier access to the ATO’s online services.
How to enrol your voiceprint via the ATO app
Assistant Commissioner Dardo notes that individuals and sole traders can download the latest version of the ATO app from their app store and enrol their voiceprint now.
Helpfully, he then provides this guidance for anyone wanting to enrol their voiceprint via the ATO app:
- “You will need to have the ATO linked to your myGov account before enrolling a voiceprint via the ATO app.”
- “To enrol your voiceprint, just open the individuals’ section of the app, select online services, log into your myGov account and follow the prompts. Save your voiceprint in your device and next time you can use your voice to log in. You can then use your voiceprint to verify your identity if you need to phone us.”
And, of course, you may indeed need to phone the ATO, a point that Commissioner Jordan himself very much acknowledges.
The traditional options are still available
Although there is a massive digital push at the ATO right now, there are still the traditional options available. Commissioner Jordan says that people also want to be able to use click to chat or after-hours call back services like the one available for small business. So taxpayers shouldn’t fear that they might be losing the option of talking to a real person. The ATO expects that these new services will actually free up resources, so that the congestion felt during peak times on traditional phone and front line services will ease. As a result, all taxpayers, whether they use these new services or not, will notice improved access and support from the ATO.
These changes make it easier for us to participate in Australia’s tax system. Interactions are being simplified, automation maximised and costs are being reduced. We can see there has been major change at the ATO, and it is only the beginning of their digital and cultural transformation.
Of course, you can always contact your MBA Adviser for more information.