Australia's first SBR lodgment solution

The myth of using AUSkey for online reporting

Posted on 24 September 2012

Business operation has got easier with cloud computing not only from the way they use the web, store the files and interact with their customers, advisers, partners and employees but also various government agencies in terms of statutory reporting online.

Every person associated with a business, practice, or entity who wants to report online on behalf of the associated ABN will need their own security credential, which is known as the AUSkey. The AUSKey is an Australian Government initiative to provide a single sign-on to access plethora of government services.

Rather than having separate ID and passwords to lodge reports online to various government departments, AUSkey enables online lodgment with most participating online services including ATO, ABR, ASIC, and all State Revenue Offices.

Unfortunately the AUSkey is designed to be stored on the desktop when applied and although can be saved onto USB, the versatility and accessability is limited due to its security stored within the AUSkey.

To date, there has been more than 500,000 AUSkey issued by ABR, however for many businesses, after downloading the issued AUSkey, unless working on and from the same computer, it is difficult to locate and upload for usage or lodgement. Cloud services such as GovReports are able to securely host the AUSkey and encrypt it, allowing the flexibility to use the AUSkey anywhere within the product.

The largest number of support calls to GovReports to date is in locating and uploading the AUSkey. For the average user, it is often a daunting task. To minimize interruptions for users , GovReports have released two new features:

  1. Find My AUSkey feature which will automatically locates and uploads AUSkey from keystore at a click of mouse for new GovReports users.
  2. AUSkey Update feature allowing the GovReports users to keep the AUSkey renewed automatically and stored within GovReports
There will be situation when AUSkey is expired, and the requirement for the user to renew the AUSkey is necessary. This option is automatically renewed for desktop users if AUSkey is used via the ATO portal during the validity of AUSkey. With GovReports, users can now go to My Setting and select AUSkey and Update for the renewal process of AUSkey.

As business information of the reporting entity has to match with the information contain in the AUSkey for lodgement, BAS/tax agents when submitting any reports to ATO or other government agencies, the business information as well as clients details must be registered prior to lodge online.

Agent's AUSkey enable the agent to lodge reports for registered clients listed on ATO agents portal. Currently the BAS and Tax agents share the same portal which means during the year, the BAS agent can work and lodge reports for their registered clients online. However, when it comes to tax season, tax agent take over the ownership of clients, bumping out the BAS agent's right to act on behalf of clients and the cycle of client registration begins.

It is time consuming issue for tax practitioners acting on behalf of clients and although the request to have separate routing for BAS and Tax agents, it is still on the hanging balance. GovReports is committed to development of better services and facilities for its users and will update facility when available.