INPRACTICE     Time ticks towards myGovID 


Time ticks towards myGovID

All practitioners need to be fully across an imminent change to logging into the Australian Taxation Office.

Jacqueline Blondell | March 2020

Practitioners have until the end of March to move to myGovID, the new default identity login for the Australian Taxation Office (ATO).

“AUSkey and Manage ABN Connections haven’t kept pace with technology changes and are being retired as at 11.59pm AEDT [Australian Eastern Daylight Time] Friday 27 March,” says ATO Chief Digital Officer and Deputy Commissioner John Dardo.

They are being replaced by the myGovID application, which is to be installed on individual devices and owned by individuals and cannot be shared, and RAM (Relationship Authorisation Manager) that allows a user to link their myGovID with an ABN (Australian Business Number) to be able to transact on behalf of a business.

Times have changed

MyGovID is different from MyGov, which lets users select and link online Australian Government services from one place. “MyGovID lets you prove who you are when using government online services,” Dardo explains, adding that plans are afoot to link the two in the future.

The myGovID app works on Apple devices supporting the iOS 10 operating system as well as Android version 7.0 Nougat. The devices are for accessing the system only.

“If you currently use the ATO Business Portal on your desktop computer, you can continue doing so, [as] the only thing that will change is how you log in,” Dardo says.

Lingering security concerns

The RAM function gives practice principals the authority to choose which staff can access which parts of the business. However, there are concerns from some practitioners that there is no option to cease staff usage after working hours. Some CPAs believe this to be a security issue.

“Members have expressed to us a range of issues over the move from AUSkey to myGovID, chief among them being after-hours access or off-site access,” says Paul Drum, CPA Australia’s general manager external affairs.

“The ATO has a responsibility to design systems that accommodate the different ways members run their practices, hence it is pleasing that after much advocacy by CPA Australia and practitioners, the ATO has committed to designing out-of-hours myGovID access controls, although it won’t be available for at least a few months.”

From June, the ATO will be providing practices with retrospective computer audit logs as downloadable datasets so they can see who is accessing the system.

“While audit logs will be one tool practitioners can use to monitor staff access to online services for agents, it is not a replacement for improving the functionality of RAM or Access Manager so that practitioners can reduce the risks of unauthorised access in the first place, such as out-of-hours access should they wish,” notes Drum.

Teething problems: Help is at hand

“Together with CPA practitioners and other professional bodies, CPA Australia will be working with the ATO over coming months to improve their understanding of what out-of-office controls practitioners want and help them design such controls,” Drum says.

ATO Assistant Commissioner Colin Walker has been tasked with supporting tax professionals during the transition stage. He says the ATO is offering concerned professionals ATO field visits.

“Tax professionals can request a visit from us via our online booking system,” Walker says. “A link will be sent via email to targeted tax professionals and any concerned practitioner can phone 1300 287 539 for tailored assistance.

“A lesson we’ve learnt is the value of collaboration,” he notes. “We couldn’t be where we are now without the valuable input from our Beta testers and input from the profession. If you keep feeding through feedback, we’ll get your ideas and make sure the support material is getting it right at our end to improve the experience you have when interacting with the ATO and to strengthen the system.”

For further information, visit the ATO's website.

Identity verification

To access myGovID, users need to verify two of the following identity documents: Australian driver’s licence, Medicare card, Australian birth certificate or passport.

This gives the user “standard identity strength”, which provides full access to all ATO online services.

The ATO has stated that it will also support users who can’t satisfy required proof of identity – including offshore workers. From March, the ATO will enable users with different names to their identity documents to use an Australian marriage certificate or a change of name certificate (from South Australia, Tasmania, Northern Territory, and the ACT) to meet proof of identity requirements.

In June, the ATO will continue to expand acceptable identity documents, adding Visa, citizenship certificates, and ImmiCards.