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Small firms face GST scare

MANY small business operators are overestimating their GST readiness and may be unprepared for its introduction, says a business survey by the Australian Society of Certified Practicing Accountants.

Of the small businesses surveyed, 49 per cent said they were GST ready despite the fact key operational elements of the new tax are yet to be announced.

ASCPA executive director David Edwards said this figure was in conflict with the number of businesses that had actually sought advice, undertaken a review of their business operations, taken staff training into account or allocated funds.

“The GST is not just a tax issue,” Mr Edwards said.

“It has an impact across every facet of an organisation.”

Of the businesses surveyed, 72 per cent had not spent any money in preparation for the GST. Of those that had, the average amount was $553.

The amount spent varied greatly between the states with Melbourne spending an average of $1,056 compared to Perth with $94.

The survey found 39 per cent had undertaken a GST impact review of their business and 36 per cent had sought advice.

Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu GST specialist John Oesterheld said failure to train staff properly for the GST could lead to stiff penalties for not paying the correct amount of tax.

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