The new collaboration will see Thomson Reuters’ ONESOURCE Fringe Benefits Tax software supported by KPMG’s employment tax advisory group, automating the high-volume and often complex tax calculations required to complete an FBT return.
Speaking to Accountants Daily, KPMG partner Hayley Lock said the partnership would give users the assurance that the tax compliance requirements have been tested by the big four firm.
“What the product does really well at the moment is it provides good governance and checks and balances against the actual calculations, and that’s something that KPMG is working with Thomson Reuters to make sure that all those calculations are accurate,” Ms Lock said.
“But beyond that, one of the things that we’re really excited about the partnership is actually just exploring additional things that we can do to help clients and people who are preparing FBT returns discover whether there’s some aspects of that process that they’re currently doing that we can help automate.
“It’s helping to streamline the process of getting the information into the product to do those calculations, but also it’s at the other end to present what happened with the FBT return for the current year, using some analytics and some dashboarding to make that conversation a little bit easier, and doing some of those things in a more automatic way than we are at the moment.”
Ms Lock said the partnership comes at a time when FBT continues to become more complex, pointing to the ATO’s recently released draft taxation ruling 2019/D5, which proposes changes that could hit employers in suburban and regional areas.
The professional accounting bodies have since called on the ATO to withdraw the draft ruling, arguing that it imposes an “unreasonable compliance burden for negligible revenue”.
“The ATO is actually working really hard at the moment to put out some practical compliance guidelines and the like for employers to try and cut down on some of the admin, but unfortunately, for better or worse, there’s been some developments that have made things a little bit more complex in the car parking space and that’ll be a key focus for people this FBT season,” Ms Lock said.
“There’s also other legislation which is just taking a long time to actually get finalised. For example, we had this little complex and silly area of FBT, where you have an exemption that applies to taxis and doesn’t apply for rideshare. That legislation is going through Parliament at the moment, but it is hard to get those sorts of things changed quickly, and so, some of that complexity still remains until we can get some more legislative change.”
Jotham Lian is the news 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.