Businesses must plan this year’s tax payments early, according to Susan Franks, a senior tax advocate at Chartered Accountants Australia and New Zealand (CA ANZ), pointing out four core tax changes that she said may “get lost on busy business owners.” If you don’t have your ducks in a row and haven’t complied with single touch payroll in Australia or educated your team on modern processes – you might not be setting yourself up for success.
The taxable payment reporting systems (TPRS), which was created to address Australia’s black economy, initially applied to the building and construction industry. The Australia Tax Office (ATO) has now extended it to the cleaning and courier industries, and the road freight, security, investigation, surveillance and information technology industries.
One of the tax changes happening this year is that businesses providing road freight, security, investigation, surveillance and information technology services will need file their reports by 28 August 2020. The ATO said that even if a company only does a percentage of work related to road freight, security, investigation, surveillance and information technology services, it is still required to submit a report. Companies also need to report if it hires a contract to perform the above-mentioned services regardless of the total payment amount is itemized or combined.
Another one of the tax changes this year is myGovID and Relationship Authorisation Manager (RAM) replacing AUSkey and Manage ABN Connections at the end of March 2020. After March 31, tax and BAS agents will no longer be able to access online services.
To obtain a myGovID, tax practitioners need to establish their identity by submitting two of the following: driver’s license, passport, birth certificate, or Medicare card. The ATO said is working on an exception process for employees of firms who cannot provide the required identity documents, including offshore workers, non-residents working in Australia, and Australians without the proper documentation.
RAM allows users to manage relationships and authorisations across government online services. Businesses can link their Australian business number (ABN) to their myGovID using the RAM.
Starting this year, e-invoicing will be used by the government to transact with their suppliers. It is meant to speed up payment time and reduce costs in the invoicing process. Alongside the roll-out of e-invoicing, the government said it will begin paying businesses late payment interest.
The new rules on invoicing will currently apply to procurement contracts with the government, but finance minister Mathias Cormann is encouraging the private sector to follow suit. The ATO said e-invoicing will further reduce the average payment time of 37 days and allows businesses to save $22. E-invoicing is expected to save the Australian economy $28 billion over 10 years, Ms Franks said.
Single touch payroll (STP) was passed last year to improve transparency and ease the burden of employers and individuals who are sending information to multiple government agencies. The system synchorises the sending of payroll information, including wages, salary payments, and superannuations to the ATO, with their payment time.
Companies who have not yet transitioned to the STP reporting have until July 1 to do so.
Employers with one to four employees have until 28 February 2020 to apply for the quarterly reporting concession. After this date, only those micro employers with extenuating circumstances will be considered. Exemptions for closely held payees, like family members working in the business, also end in July. The full penalty for small businesses will come into effect from 1 July 2020.
Getting on top of tax obligations saves the business owner stress, time, and money because tax affects cash flow. Taxes are necessary and unavoidable. Because tax payments involve shelling out money, there is a tendency that not being prepared can either drain your cash flow or result to you incurring penalties for late payments. It is thus never too early to organise tax payments.
SmartCompany offers six tips on how to get tax affairs in order ahead of time:
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