Are your clients among the ATO’s 20,000 doing their payment summary wrong?


According to the ATO, there are still 20,000 businesses submitting their payment summaries via outdated means. Alistair Nestor explains.  

Dear Sir / Madam,

In the past you lodged your payment summary annual report using CDs, DVDs or flash drives. As this service is closing you will now need to lodge your report online. Lodging online saves you time and provides better security for your information.

That’s an excerpt from a letter sent by the ATO last year to Australian businesses that were still submitting their payment summaries via CD, DVD or flash drive. As you’re no doubt aware, as of 31 December 2015 the ATO is no longer accepting these mediums containing payment summaries.

So how do businesses submit their payment summaries now? Businesses can either use:

  • The SBR framework via accounting software
  • One of the ATO’s portals using an AUSkey (Business Portal, Tax Agent Portal or BAS Agent Portal)

That’s not the only change. On its website the ATO states:

You cannot lodge scanned images or forms, screen prints, spreadsheets or word processing files (for example .pdf, .doc, .xls, .jpg, .tif) on our portals.

Lodging your PAYG withholding annual reports online

So not only do businesses need to lodge electronically now, they’re also limited by what format they submit.

20,000 business not submitting correctly

Unfortunately, according to the ATO there are still 20,000 businesses that still submit payment summaries via outdated means. That means 20,000 businesses are not set up to lodge their payment summaries correctly. Chances are, your practice may have a client that needs to review their processes.

The good news is you can make this process seamless for any business not yet following the ATO’s guidelines.

You can either:

  • Assist them to submit via the Business Portal
  • Manage the submissions via either the Tax Agent or BAS Agent Portals
  • Submit via your SBR-enabled practice software

We recommend that you contact your clients about this important topic as soon as possible. It’s imperative that you have processes in place to ensure their lodgments are seamless. And remember, if you prefer to submit via one of the ATO’s portals, you must ensure their summaries meet the ATO’s criteria.