[Media Release] Inadequate internet access will thwart Government’s tax requirements, BAS Agents warn

Small businesses will not be able to meet the Government's own requirements to lodge tax and other Australian Tax Office reports electronically unless the Government acts urgently to improve national internet access, the peak body representing BAS Agents and bookkeepers has warned.

"The Government must act urgently to ensure that small businesses, their BAS Agents and bookkeepers have adequate fast and reliable internet access if they are to meet the obligations which the ATO is imposing on them," Association of Accounting Technicians Chief Executive Officer Stuart Norman said.

"If small businesses are to meet their obligations to provide information electronically to the ATO, it is the responsibility of the Government to ensure that the internet infrastructure is available to small business to enable this," he said.

"At present the National Broadband Network is not available in many areas in which small businesses and their BAS Agents operate. Reliable and fast alternative internet services are not available either.
"Yet the Tax Office is proceeding with its plans which require small businesses and their BAS Agents to lodge information electronically which has previously been able to be lodged by paper," Mr Norman said.

"NBN rollout plans will not permit small businesses and their BAS Agents to meet the Government's own requirements.

"Urgent government action to address this anomaly is needed," he said.

AAT has recently launched a campaign writing to Government ministers urging them to act. AAT has sent letters urging intervention to the Minister for Communications Malcolm Turnbull, the Minister for Small Business Bruce Billson and the Assistant Treasurer Josh Frydenberg.

AAT Australia is the peak body representing the country's largest professional body in the accounting / bookkeeping sector. AAT has over 2000 members and provides a commitment to high standards, professionalism, recognition and status for professionals including BAS Agents, self-employed bookkeepers; payroll officers and other accounting support staff. AAT members are mostly small business people in their own right and provide essential services to other small businesses who are their clients.

AAT has told the ministers that AAT members are facing increasing pressure from the Australian Government, especially the Australian Tax Office to deal with the ATO and conduct all transactions online. However the geographical coverage of the existing national broadband infrastructure is not sufficiently broad, nor is the speed or reliability adequate for AAT members to do this efficiently.

For AAT members to meet the Government's and ATO's expectations, and in the absence of other broadband alternatives, it is imperative that the Government ensure that the NBN is available to AAT members in all geographical areas ahead of the ATO's deadline for transferring its services and dealings with AAT members online.


For further information and comment please contact

Stuart Norman
Chief Executive Officer
Association of Accounting Technicians Australia
Phone: 0427 496 434 or 03 8665-3159


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