Association of Accounting Technicians chief executive officer Stuart Norman said the government must act urgently to ensure that small businesses, their BAS agents and bookkeepers have adequate fast and reliable internet access if they are to meet the obligations that the ATO is imposing on them.
“If small businesses are to meet their obligations to provide information electronically to the ATO, it is the responsibility of the government to ensure that the internet infrastructure is available to small business to enable this,” Mr Norman said.
“At present, the National Broadband Network is not available in many areas in which small businesses and their BAS agents operate. Reliable and fast alternative internet services are not available either.
“Yet the tax office is proceeding with its plans which require small businesses and their BAS agents to lodge information electronically, which has previously been [possible] be lodged by paper."
Mr Norman also warned that the government's current NBN rollout plan is inadequate and will not meet the needs of many small businesses.
“NBN rollout plans will not permit small businesses and their BAS agents to meet the government’s own requirements," he said.
“Urgent government action to address this anomaly is needed."
The AAT has written to government ministers, urging them to consider this issue and to act accordingly.
According to a statement, the AAT has told the ministers that its members are facing increasing pressure from the Australian government to deal with the ATO, and to conduct all transactions, online. However, the geographical coverage of the existing national broadband infrastructure is not sufficiently broad, nor is the speed or reliability adequate for AAT members to do this efficiently.
"For AAT members to meet the Government’s and ATO’s expectations, and in the absence of other broadband alternatives, it is imperative that the Government ensure that the NBN is available to AAT members in all geographical areas ahead of the ATO’s deadline for transferring its services and dealings with AAT members online," the statement said.
Are you thinking of expanding your offering into SMSFs to grow your client base? Become a pro at SMSF fundamentals and make your clients bulletproof with the SMSF Foundations course. Learn directly from Aaron Dunn from Smarter SMSF as he deep-dives into the fundamentals you need to know to successfully undertake your work as an SMSF practitioner. Earn up to 21 CPD hours! Learn more