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FBT ignored in tax technology offerings


A combination of high compliance costs and low government tax revenue has left the fringe benefits tax a low priority by accounting software providers, says a big four firm.

by Adrian Flores2 minute read
tax technology offerings

A recent KPMG survey estimated that FBT raises only 1 per cent of government revenue, even though compliance costs are almost five times higher than other taxes.

Speaking to Accountants Daily, KPMG Australia head of tax technology and innovation, Matt Herring, said FBT has probably received less attention by accounting software providers than other taxes that are more ‘mainstream’.

“I think the combination of data points is a particularly challenging one for fringe benefits tax,” Mr Herring said.

“I think automation is only as good as the ability to get data access and then use it.

“Even if I think about our own strategy in terms of working with technology, building technology, et cetera, it's only really an area that we've really focused on more recently,” he added.

“I don't know that it is necessarily more complex to automate than any other particular tax. It's just that the focus hasn't been there as much.”

Nexia Australia senior consultant Dean Birch said that while FBT can be complex, it’s not any more difficult an area of tax to assess compared to other areas such as tax consolidations, small business relief or research and development.

“I don’t believe it is just the complex nature of FBT that limits the offering,” Mr Birch said. "It's not a priority for many employers, even though it should be.

“FBT is only relevant for companies, not trusts or individuals, so commercially, software is developed for the majority of entities in relation to the taxes that applies to them.”

KPMG recently developed its FBT Automator, using robotics technology to reduce the time taken to complete FBT compliance tasks.

Among other functions, the tool can complete payroll system data input by operating directly with FBT preparation software to automate the upload of payroll and HR-related data.

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FBT ignored in tax technology offerings
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