Business use of Standard Business Reporting had exploded this financial year with the introduction of SuperStream Tax File Number Integrity Checks (SuperTICK), the Australian Taxation Office has said.
SBR lodgements had risen from 150,000 lodgements using SBR in the 2012-2013 financial year to over 750,000 transactions by the end of September, most of which were SuperTICK checks.
“We estimate that 3.2 million such checks will be undertaken by the end of this financial year,” Geoff Leeper, second commissioner for the ATO’s people, systems and services group, told an accounting conference in New Zealand last month. Leeper also said the ATO intended to automate 1.4 million individual tax returns in 2014 and would eventually “liberate” 4.5 million taxpayers from completing tax returns.
Accountants and bookkeepers could benefit from SBR as it would reduce the time spent gathering, analysing and assembling data for clients. SBR would reduce potential input errors from manual entry, as much as the information will come accountants’ business’ systems and government records.
A Price Waterhouse Coopers’ tax integration project using SBR had found savings of $1.8 million a year in its private clients practice, which prepared nearly 5,000 tax returns. A Deloitte Digital pilot demonstrated similar benefits with an 82 percent saving in time for the preparation of financial statements from SBR.
SuperTICK checks offered potential savings of $40-$50 per transaction by replacing manual processes to verify member details for rollover purposes, according to the Association of Superannuation Funds of Australia.
The federal initiative to provide standardised electronic reporting was entering a “substantial period of expansion”. While the initial implementation of Standard Business Reporting (SBR) was focused on financial and payroll reporting, the ATO would introduce SBR standards for SuperStream transactions in 2013-15 and the ATO’s Electronic Lodgement Service from 2015-16, Leeper said.
The SBR program comprised three elements: an online gateway, which enabled reports to pass securely between business and government in both directions; a taxonomy, which supported a single reporting language; and the secure log-on mechanism, AUSkey.
The program aimed to reduce the amount of time and money business spend on reporting in several ways. SBR could read financial data in a business accounting system, pre-fill forms with required information and let businesses deliver forms to government agencies through a secure online channel.
“As the data used in reporting via SBR is more consistent and integrated with natural business processes, it can also improve compliance outcomes,” Leeper said.
SBR could help larger businesses with complex corporate structures or many reporting entities to improve internal reporting. “Businesses can realise internal efficiencies because SBR uses an international accountants’ reporting language which offers tagging of data at its source and uses a consistent definition of terms,” Leeper said.
The full text of the speech was available on the ATO’s website.