The Australian Tax Office is considering opening up its myTax lodgement platform to third parties such as tax agents to allow them to submit returns on behalf of clients.
MyTax - which debuted last year - will become the only option for lodging online tax returns during tax time 2016 after the ATO in March announced the retirement of its e-Tax software.
The cross-platform myTax prefills a person's return with information provided by their bank, employer, and government agencies, as well as from their previous tax return. It tailors questions to the user's personal information.
MyTax was only initially available for individuals with straightforward tax affairs. Those with complicated tax affairs were required to continue using e-Tax.
But from tax time next year, the ATO has promised to offer a single myTax product for all individuals. It will spend the next 12 months expanding the platform in a staggered approach.
However, in a speech today, ATO second commissioner Andrew Mills emphasised that developments to the myTax platform designed to make it easier for individuals to submit returns were not intended to shut out tax agents and intermediaries.
"That’s not our intention at all. You are very much a part of the picture," he told the Tax Institute's 48th South Australia Convention.
"Our digital products are targeted at e-tax and paper lodgers. Many taxpayers will continue to use agents who understand their circumstances and the complexities of the tax and super system.
"Some will also continue to use agents simply out of habit or because they think their agent can get them a larger refund."
He revealed the ATO was considering offering myTax as a white-label service.
"What if we could open up myTax in a way that supported agents to lodge their clients’ tax returns?" he said.
"What if we could do that in a way that allowed you to put your own badging on it to make it your own “myTax”; that is, a “white label” offer?"
Mills did, however, warn tax agents that client expectations for both the ATO and agents were changing and as such, both parties would need to adapt.
"Tax agents and intermediaries will need to change their business models and adapt their practices for the digital future," he said.
"One way to do this is to move away from a data entry role to a high-value, advisory role."