AU - ATO Glitches Mar e-Business Milestone : LUSENET : Grassroots Information Coordination Center (GICC) : One Thread

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ATO glitches mar e-business milestone

By Mandy Bryan and Fiona Buffini

August 21, 2000

Today was to mark a milestone in e-business, as more than 6,000 of Australia's largest companies took to the internet to lodge their first GST business activity statements.

Instead, glitches with the new Australian Taxation Office-developed Electronic Commerce Interface mean the ATO will be swamped by a mountain of paper.

Many large corporates, including the Commonwealth Bank of Australia, Coles Myer, CSR and National Australia Bank, are expected to lodge multiple returns on paper.

Electronic lodgement, a cornerstone of the new tax system, aims to automate the massive GST processing task. Under normal circumstances, electronic lodgment is mandatory for companies with more than $20 million in turnover that are required to lodge monthly.

However, companies claimed that the digital certificates that secure the transaction clashed with their corporate firewalls, leaving their systems vulnerable to hackers and viruses.

A spokesman for Davids Ltd said the company would not lodge electronically until it was sure the system did not compromise the security of its firewall.

Others reported problems entering security pin numbers issued by the ATO.

And four companies, including Davids, Goodman Fielder and WMC, had not received all of the electronic BAS forms as late as Friday.

"We have nothing to submit apart from our GST group BAS, which we will submit, but we have no BAS forms for our major employing companies like Uncle Tobys or Meadow Lea," said Goodman Fielder's GST project head, Mr John Richardson.

An ATO spokesman said some companies had had difficulty obtaining their digital certificates, which had contributed to delays.

Due to development hold-ups, the ATO distributed the electronic commerce software and digital certificates only in June and July.

It announced late last month it would waive the $550 penalty for companies not lodging statements online for this month only.

GST partner with Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu, Mr Nick Hill, said this should be extended.

"As long as there are obvious problems with the technology, the ATO would be unwise to impose any penalties where the problem was at their end," he said.

-- (, August 21, 2000

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