Strategic working group - 15 June 2023

Original Published Date
Tax Category
Tax preparation
Business accounting
Investment bodies
Resource Type
Consultative groups

This Strategic Working Group (SWG) meeting was held in Sydney on 15 June 2023.

Key outcomes


Below is a summary of key outcomes. Note: The full key outcomes and presentation materials are available in Online services for DSPs.

Data minimisation & retention

Members were given an update on the data minimisation & retention working group run by Digital Service Providers Australia New Zealand (DSPANZ).

There is currently no regulatory instrument or legislative requirement for DSPs to store tax records for their clients and data retention policies vary significantly across industry.

DSPANZ, in consultation with the working group and broader industry, are progressing a ‘best practice’ statement on minimum data retention. The working group is also considering educational opportunities to manage expectations of clients.

DSP experience

Members were provided with an overview of 2023 DSP experience survey results, including achievements and work currently underway to address opportunities for improvement. Results from the working together effective question feed directly into the working with our partners measure in the ATO annual report 2021–22.

Members were also provided with an overview of the ATOs current approach to improving DSP experience, including alignment across ATO and broader Government. Current focus is progressing improvements around information and channel management.

EST future program of work and focus areas

Members were provided with an overview of priorities for the 2023–24 financial year.

Members had the opportunity to discuss high impact measures with significant interest raised around the OECD measure – Pillar 2 for global minimum tax rates. This measure requires global information exchange to ensure enough tax is paid across jurisdictions. The need to engage DSPs early in design was recognised.

ATO Interactive Services API modernisation/future direction

Members were provided with an overview of the future direction of the DSG and API Portal in the context of the ATO’s Channel Management Strategy.

The API portal will hold lightweight services and is not designed to replace SBR. Discussions around the evolution of these two channels will continue.

Single Touch Payroll (STP)

Members were given an update on STP 2. Current focus for the program is continuous improvement, including working directly with DSPs and industry on common issues faced with the expanded use of payroll data.

Use of offshore or distributed teams in the development of DSP software

Considerations around offshore development were discussed from both an industry and ATO perspective. In some countries, offshore resources cannot be used to develop software that connects with government services. If this eventuates in Australia, DSPs may not be able to pivot away from using offshore resources and continue to deliver on government expectations.

Rules that the ATO is subject to are set by security policy agencies (for example, Protective Security Policy Framework). ATO then builds requirements into systems, processes, and guidelines such as the Operational Security Framework (OPSF). OPSF sets out minimum security requirements that a DSP must meet when building products to connect with ATO services.

Tax guidance in software

The ATO is working on ways to help small business and their tax representatives to get reporting right.

Members were invited to discuss how prompts and nudges may be used to address errors associated with Division 7a reporting.

Preliminary conversations are occurring with Tax Practitioner Board (TPB) regarding tax guidance and advice in software in relationship to the Tax Agent Services Act 2009 (TASA).

Compromised identity

The ATO is very focussed on detecting and preventing fraud and there are a whole range of things we do in the background to minimise risk to taxpayer data.

Client authorisation and linking process

The group was provided with an overview of the ATO’s new client agent linking process which allows clients to securely nominate an agent through ATO’s online services.                                                                                 

Next meeting dates

The next SWG meeting will be held online on 26 September 2023, followed by a face-to-face session in Brisbane on 2 November 2023.

Participation is available to those Digital service providers listed as SWG members for the 2023 year.

If you have any questions, contact the secretariat by email at or lodge a ticket via Online services for DSPs.

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