Small businesses win with GST changes

A streamlined era ushering GST changes is dawning in Australia. It’s an era that brings significant cost savings to small-business owners and gives them back much needed time to focus on growing their ventures.

The Australian Taxation Office (ATO) has listened to the concerns of small business, tax professionals, industry associations and cloud accounting software providers like Intuit Australia on the need to reduce GST compliance costs. The result is the simpler business activity statement (BAS) requirement that kicks in on 1 July.

Already some of our QuickBooks Online clients are benefiting as we are inviting new customers to participate in alpha testing the new system, in partnership with the ATO.

Lignier and Evans reported in their 2012 paper, The rise and rise of tax compliance costs for the small-business sector in Australia, that small businesses spend many hours on GST compliance alone. On tax related activities, medium-sized businesses spent 33 per cent of their time on compliance annually, whereas micro businesses spent 50 per cent of time.

But the new system will change all that. Simpler BAS will make life easier for small business as well as bookkeepers and accountants. It will improve compliance, save precious time and reduce mistakes often made with manual entry of information.

We are delighted that a number of our QuickBooks Online customers will be among the first in Australia to try the simplified GST bookkeeping component of simpler BAS. Their feedback will improve the system and process before it’s rolled out nationally.

Our commitment to the project, which will make life so much easier for small business owners, reflects our organisation’s wider commitment to supporting the 2.7 million Australian small businesses that fuel the economy.

The insights gathered from our customers during the testing phase will also provide data on time and cost savings, as well as recommendations on how to make the taxation process work even better for small businesses.

Simpler GST reporting means small business will only fill in three categories: total sales, GST on sales and GST on purchases. No longer will small business have to report on export sales, other GST-free sales, capital and non-capital purchases.

This means less time spent on classification and bookkeeping, and more time to focus on the actual business.

Small businesses are vital to building a prosperous nation. As such, we need to ensure their continued growth and economic contribution through providing them with a strong foundation on which to build success.

Nicolette Maury, Vice President and Country Manager, Intuit Australia

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