With the Federal Budget just around the corner, the Government’s annual budget is once again under scrutiny. What will be cut? Where can the Government makes its savings? What worthwhile projects should taxpayers money be spent on? Where can waste be identified?
Successive Governments have talked about cutting red tape and reducing costs for businesses. As we know, time is money for businesses, especially small business which is the backbone of the Australian economy.
There are 2 million small businesses that employs 7 million people in Australia, making up almost 60 per cent of the Australian workforce. Its campaign ‘toobigtoignore’ called for less Government interference and demanded for a more efficient and simplified tax system.
After all, it is small business owners who are the ones who put their homes and family life on the line and take risks to do what they believe in – to be self-sufficient, to create jobs and support their local communities. And despite putting their money and life on the the line to help create local economic activities, they are constantly being stifled by Governments interference and bureaucratic burdens.
One of the ways to reduce red tape is through streamlining businesse’s reporting to Government. This process is still heavily manual and labor intensive. Data is copied by hand from one computer system to another, or on to paper forms. Some reports require businesses to send a CD with information on it. For example Pay-As-You-Go (PAYG) Annual Summaries report requires a copy of all group certificates recorded in a specific format to be sent on a CD to the ATO. This means manually burning a CD and sending it in an envelope to the ATO, and often repeating the process on request from the ATO where a CD has been damaged or saved in the wrong format.
A small company, Impact Management Group (IMG) has developed an innovative system that makes whole-of-government reporting more transparent, accountable and, more importantly, saves time and money. It’s cloud-based lodgment portal – GovReports, provides the solution to the red tape and efficiency problem that a small business faces when they report and lodge to the Government.
IMG’s Director, Tiana Tran, said GovReports enables AUSkey holders, a secure identification login key for tax practitioners and businesses, to do all of their online reporting and compliance requirements to the ATO and other Government agencies on GovReports SBR enabled secure cloud-based system.
“The Federal budget is just 9 days away, and we’ll be hearing more about red tape reduction and tax reforms,” Ms Tran said.
“One of the solutions for the Government is to look at streamlining reporting processes for small business and at GovReports SBR lodgment portal we have the unique and innovative solution to help businesses,” she said.
“Business can access and input their data anywhere and anytime. Lodgments can be viewed in real time, and users can receive instant responses from the ATO, ASIC and OSRs,” Ms Tran said.
Currently, more than 70% of the information contained on reporting forms is duplicated. This means filling out the same information on different forms for different Government departments.
Some reports are able to be lodged online using ATO Electronic Lodgment Service (ELS) or the Business/BAS/Tax Agent Portals. Despite helping to eliminate paper lodgment, these portals do not remove the need to manually copy data. Also, these services frequently crash during peak periods around deadlines for lodgment of forms. Many tax agents report having to assign staff to spend hours/days waiting for the ATO portal interface to resume and resubmit reports.
The Government’s Standard Business Reporting Program (SBR) aims to cut down on red tape for businesses around Australia. In 2012, the Australian Government Productivity Commission estimated the potential benefits of SBR to business, under the program’s initial financial reporting scope, to be in the order of $500 million a year based on 60 per cent take-up.
To date, IMG’s GovReports is one of the few cloud applications that has successfully interfaced with the ATO’s SBR program.
IMG’s GovReports will continue to collaborate with Government agencies like ATO and ASIC, to develop a more convenient and paperless tax and compliance lodgment solutions for businesses. It is shaping up to be the leader in Government reporting software service within Australia’s booming digital landscape which is in line with its ‘Digital by Default’ agenda.