Tax and Technology: Automation, the Digital Economy and Single Touch Payroll

In the ever-changing world of tax and technology, we are
constantly facing pressures to increase efficiencies and do things smarter. But
what does this mean in a practical sense for our firms.
What are some of the current practical issues that
technology is solving, and what new ones is it creating? What demands and
challenges does this pose and what is the impact on our clients… now and in the
At the 34th National Convention in March, Robyn Jacobson,
CTA, (TaxBanter) and Colin Walker, (Australian Taxation Office) look at the
issues facing advisers in their session ‘Tax and Technology: Automation, the
Digital Economy and Single Touch Payroll’.
We spoke to Robyn about what to expect on the day.
“The ATO is currently focussed on how technology can improve
their processes, as well as the experience that tax agents have when engaging
with those processes. Colin and I will aim to give delegates an understanding
of how the ATO is going about this, as well as what tax practitioners can
expect in the future when dealing with the ATO, including the new dashboard for
tax agents, ‘ATO Online’. We will be looking at how these changes will impact
our dealings with clients and the way in which we run our practices.”

“Our session will also explain the ATO’s approach to dealing
with the implementation of Single Touch Payroll (STP) reporting for small
employers which will commence from 1 July 2019. Micro employers in particular,
those with four or fewer employees, face enormous technological and practical
challenges in commencing STP reporting, and there are challenges in requiring
closely held employers to report through STP because they generally don’t have a
regular payroll cycle which is the premise of STP reporting.”
Robyn and Colin will look at some of the practical realities
of STP and making it work in practice, including some tailored solutions for
micro employers and closely held employers, before looking at automation, where
they will compare what advisers have available today with what the future might
look like.
Robyn said “Ultimately, the session will assist delegates in
understanding how improvements in technology is changing the way that tax practitioners
are, and will, interact with the ATO. It will also explain the special rules
that the ATO has developed to assist small employers, micro employers and
closely held employers adopt STP reporting from 1 July 2019.”
Robyn has a background in public practice, and has been a
professional tax trainer for 22 years, the last eight spent with TaxBanter. A
Chartered Tax Adviser with The Tax Institute, she is also a CA, FCPA, and
Registered Tax Agent. She is currently a member of three of The Tax Institute’s
committees; the Victorian Professional Development Committee, the Victorian
Women in Tax Committee, where she serves as Co-Chair, and the Noosa Tax
Intensive Organising Committee, as well as serving as the Chair of CPA
Australia’s Victorian Public Practice Committee.
Robyn regularly consults with Treasury and the ATO on
technical issues and has been involved in ATO consultations on Single Touch
Payroll for three years.

“With all that going on, it is rare that I am not knee-deep
in tax, but I enjoy getting out on the open road, taking 3,000 km road trips,
driving to the Mornington Peninsula, the Dandenong Ranges and the Victorian
High Country, enjoying great food/wine and shopping. I am fortunate that my
professional role takes me to all corners of the country each year and that
allows me to take in the sights as I go. I enjoy overseas travel when I can
manage the time off, even for a quick hop out of the country” she said.

Colin Walker joined the Australian Taxation Office in 1975. Until
the early nineties his primary focus was on indirect taxes particularly sales
tax. After a short period with Ernst and Young as a Senior Manager consulting
in Sales Tax he worked for the International Monetary Fund providing in country
technical assistance in Tax and Customs Policy and Administration in many
overseas developing countries. In 2002 Colin returned to the ATO and as an
Assistant Commissioner he has worked on the development and implementation of
significant business and individual new legislation and is currently
responsible for the relationship with tax practitioners in the tax and
superannuation system.

Robyn and Colin’s session is one of eight taking place in
the Hot Topics stream at the Convention, which also features sessions on state
taxes, the black economy, recent cases, GST and more.
Find out more about these sessions and the rest of the
program on our website.

The 34th National Convention takes place 13-15 March 2019 in
Hobart. Register before 1 February and save $200.


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