DTA, ATO to bring tax file number applications online this year

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DTA, ATO to bring tax file number applications online this year

Prototype takes process down to minutes.

An online service that allows Australians to verify their identity and use it to apply and receive a tax file number in just minutes will become available this year, the Digital Transformation Agency has pledged.

The service will be the first to go live on the Govpass whole-of-government digital identity verification solution being built by the DTA. 

The agency revealed last October that the Australian Taxation Office was testing out whether it could tap into Govpass to provide an end-to-end online process for tax file number applications.

At the moment, applying for a tax file number is only possible by filling out a form and taking it to an Australia Post outlet or Centrelink centre with your identity documents, or by filling out a form and sending the application with certified copies of identity documents in the post to the ATO.

The process generally takes around 40 days to complete. There are 750,000 applications for tax file numbers every year. 

The ATO's new online service is currently in private beta. DTA chief Gavin Slater today told the Salesforce world tour conference in Sydney it would reduce the process down to minutes.

"Right now you apply online and get it in the mail. We've built a prototype where you can set up a digital identity [on Govpass] in five minutes, and apply and get your TFN in under 90 seconds," he said.

"We will go live with this first service transaction this year."

Govpass entered private beta in March last year. The DTA is expected to test the platform for a broader range of users and services from the middle of 2018 when it enters public beta.

The framework that underpins Govpass - detailing policies, standards and requirements - was officially released last month.

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