Last week, The Bookkeeper published comments from Carbon Group which questioned whether the ATO’s introduction of Simpler BAS reduced red tape for small business.
“It seems like in the background, you still have to calculate all the things that you did before but all you’re doing is filling out less fields, but to arrive at those fields you still have to do everything as you did before,” said Carbon Group managing partner Jamie Davison.
There were mixed reactions from readers — you can join the conversation too here — particularly from Debra Anderson, executive director at Anderson Tax & Consulting.
Ms Anderson, who sits on a variety of ATO advisory boards, said the end objective — making life simpler for small business — is what should be the focus of these debates.
“It’s about simplifying a, let’s face it, complex GST system and not having to worry about why something does or doesn’t have GST in it – it just does or it doesn’t. Simple. Many self-reporting businesses were getting the codings of why something does or doesn’t have GST in it incorrect anyway, so this takes the stress away from them of having to understand the rules, the law, the complexity around those issues and lets them focus on what they do best,” Ms Anderson told The Bookkeeper.
She also took a swipe at any professionals who would discourage their clients using Simpler BAS, saying that would be a fairly transparent move.
“I believe that by telling clients not to use the Simpler BAS codings practitioners are simply looking after themselves, maintaining an air of mystery around ‘secret GST business’ so as to protect revenue streams rather than actually helping our small business clients have a simpler, easier business life. If clients understand the previous, complex system and are getting it right then sure there is no point retraining – but let’s face it, not many are,” Ms Anderson said.
“Tell [your SME clients] there is a better way, an easier way, a simpler way. We are better than just ticking and correcting GST coding errors – GST can be complex enough. Our role is to demystify the complexity of compliance, and GST is only a very small part of it,” she said.
“If I was a small business and found out that my tax professional, my most trusted adviser, had been holding me back from an easier way for me to comply I would be livid. Be the best trusted adviser you can be and take every opportunity you can to give your client good news – you are making their life easier – let’s face it how often do you get to do that?”