The ATO is currently developing the new online BAS check, a program that aims to identify activity statements at risk of being lodged with a potential error or anomaly.
The solution, set to be released in the first half of 2020, will use predictive modelling and real-time analytics to prompt preparers of any potential issues before they lodge.
Institute of Certified Bookkeepers executive chair Matthew Addison, who is working closely with the ATO’s working group, told The Bookkeeper the new BAS check will help eliminate keying and logic errors.
“What this BAS check process will do is remove some of those keying errors and some of those fundamental flaws that get missed when people are preparing forms,” Mr Addison said.
“Keying errors where people include the cents when it is supposed to be rounded to the dollar. So all of a sudden a $1,500 bill can be keyed in as $15,000 or $150,000 and people are making those sorts of mistakes and the ATO record is therefore incorrect.
“Some logic errors will include trends — trends don’t necessarily indicate a BAS is wrong, but if a trend asks a question, then it might cause the preparer of the BAS to review the numbers they have keyed in.
“For instance, on a previous BAS, where an employer typically has wages and has PAYG withholding but is then leaving it off on this BAS, that might be an accidental error where they’ve just haven’t keyed the numbers in, and this program will pick up on that change in behaviour and alert the preparer to ask if they’ve missed something.”
The Bookkeeper understands the online BAS check will be designed for ATO Online Services and Standard Business Reporting, with a prototype currently being refined.
Mr Addison believes the new solution will not drive business clients away from utilising a registered BAS agent to help prepare and lodge their activity statements.
“There is a percentage of the business community that is quite willing and able to prepare their own BAS, but there is also a percentage of the community that requires the assistance of somebody that is knowledgeable in GST and payroll and how to prepare an activity statement,” Mr Addison said.
“I don’t believe it will harm or decrease the requirement to use a registered agent.”
Jotham Lian is the editor of Accountants Daily, the leading source of breaking news, analysis and insight for Australian accounting professionals.
Before joining the team in 2017, Jotham wrote for a range of national mastheads including the Sydney Morning Herald, and Channel NewsAsia.