Firms slow to embrace real-time tax

More than 23,000 businesses have used the Australia Tax Office’s (ATO) new standard business reporting (SBR) tool, since it was introduced in July 2010.

However, this represents just 1 per cent of the two million micro and small businesses in Australia, well below the estimated take-up rates.

The figures released by the government agency has revealed that overall, nearly 600,000 business compliance reports are being electronically lodged with the ATO as it moves towards a real-time tax system. However, this figure still remains below initial take-up estimates.

The ATO has said the move to real-time reporting will allow business systems to interact with it and other government agencies more seamlessly. It added that pretax benefits to business were expected to reach $800 million after the fourth year.  

The data revealed about 568,500 reports had been lodged using the SBR tool by the end of June. Almost 70 per cent of these were recorded in the 12 months prior and mainly involved people lodging activity statements, PAYG statements and tax file declarations.

The ATO has said it expects the number of real time lodgments to increase as it continues its move towards eliminating costly paper-based interactions with business.