Speaking to Accountants Daily, All That Counts director Lielette Calleja said she has seen little reaction in the small business space, a worrying sign that clients may not know what is in store for them.
“Personally, I’m a bit nervous about how all of this is going to shape up because I don’t think there are enough people on the ground talking about it,” said Ms Calleja.
“If I don’t raise it with my clients or if I don’t talk to people in the SME world, no one talks about it which is really bizarre. This is the second biggest thing since GST that impacts not just businesses but employees.
“It’s like the calm before the storm.”
Earlier this month, the bill looking to extend STP to employers with 19 or less employees finally passed, bringing businesses of all sizes under the regime from 1 July 2019.
Recognising the limited time left to the start date of 1 July 2019, the ATO will allow small businesses to start reporting any time between 1 July and 30 September 2019, giving them effectively a three-month buffer period.
Further, any small employer who requests additional time to start STP reporting will be granted a deferral, with exemptions for employers experiencing hardship, or are in areas with intermittent or no internet connection.
There will also be no penalties for mistakes, missed or late reports for the first year.
Ms Calleja believes accountants and bookkeepers will need to start getting the messaging across to their clients sooner rather than later to avoid a rush during tax time 2019.
“These business owners have been doing it for 10 to 20 years, paying people the same way and don’t forget that there are still a lot of people out there who still pay cash,” said Ms Calleja.
“I think it is the best thing to happen to small business because it is going to hold every single business owner accountable to their numbers. No longer will you have a business in 12 months’ time where their employee says my super hasn’t been paid or if they’ve got a $50,000 tax or BAS debt because it is all transparent now and the accountant should have real-time access and be able to advise them on what their liabilities are.
“Every business now has a balance sheet without it being on Excel.”
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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.