The New Simpler BAS not delivering time and cost savings yet

Business person working

The ATO has done small businesses a favour by releasing Simpler BAS. But does it really live up to its promise of time and cost savings for businesses?

The New Simpler BAS

Businesses with turnover under $10 million can take advantage of the Simpler BAS rolled out by the ATO on 1 July 2017. This means they only need to report on total sales, GST on sales, and GST on purchases. They no longer have to provide further GST information, including export sales, GST-free sales, capital purchases and GST on purchases.

In theory, having to report on fewer numbers sounds like less work. But in reality, the changes probably aren’t as simple as the ATO has suggested.

Business and Bookkeeper Responses to Simpler BAS

Most small business owners feel they still need to do as much work as before to calculate the numbers the ATO requires – and possibly even more. While you don’t need to fill out as many fields as before, the work they – or their accountant – needs to carry out to arrive at those numbers hasn’t decreased.

So while the changes may have been designed to reduce the amount of work small business owners need to put in to fulfil their reporting obligations, it’s unlikely there will be a great impact.

Similarly, accountants and bookkeepers haven’t noticed a great deal of difference. Institute of Certified Bookkeepers Executive Director Matthew Addison has said that because the ATO releases such features “without proper co-design, they create a nightmare for tax practitioners and businesses.” The main problem, according to Mr Addison, is that the ATO has yet to fulfil their promise of enhanced business and agent portals, which means that changes like the Simpler BAS simply create confusion and extra work.

So, while the overall aim of the Simpler BAS may have been to make it easier and less time-consuming for businesses to fulfil their obligations, that impact hasn’t been felt by most people just yet.