Tax agents' reputations and client relationships are being damaged by the Australian Taxation Office's (ATO's) push for more digital interactions, the Institute of Public Accountants (IPA) claims.
IPA chief executive, Andrew Conway, described the ATO's portal as "sub-standard", reporting that the tax office's drive to use the digital system was "coming at the expense of tax agent practices".
"The ATO portal which is an essential tool of trade for practitioners and agents has been a constant point of frustration due to the portal's instability and unreliability," he said. "More digital interactions are putting even more reliance on the sub-standard portal.
"The ATO has acknowledged that the portal is far from best practice and is currently working on a long term solution through the migration to a new more functional platform.
"Our members have highlighted to us on many occasions that they have suffered productivity loss, missed deadlines, and incurred irrecoverable costs as well as damage to the reputations and relationships with their clients.
"Transitioning to a digital delivery for BAS statements and the use of the Client Correspondence List on the portal are two recent examples causing frustration and which are having a detrimental impact on the relationship between tax agents and the ATO."
While the IPA has expressed its frustration with the ATO's portal, the tax office said it would aim to work with tax practices to ensure future changes do not add additional tasks that practices will need to accommodate outside of their normal processes.