The industry says that Bill, who wants to introduce a reporting system for the sharing economy, is too broad
The Australian government is currently considering a bill to amend tax laws that would require electronic platform operators to provide the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) with information about transactions made through their platforms.
The law was drawn up on the basis of a recommendation by the Ministry of Finance’s Black Economy Taskforce to introduce a reporting system for the sharing economy. The task force had already determined in 2017 that without an existing reporting system, it would be difficult for the ATO to obtain information on compliance with sharing economy participants if targeted audits were not carried out.
The draft law, which was introduced to parliament at the end of last month, is currently being examined by the Economic Legislation Committee.
The Tech Council of Australia (TCA), which represents tech giants like Atlassian, Canva, Google and Microsoft, told that committee Wednesday afternoon that the bill currently has too much reach, despite supporting the need for a reporting regime.
The draft law in its current form would apply to “electronic platforms” on which services are offered and a buyer accepts and pays for this service.
According to Ashley Moreland, CEO and Founder of TCA, this application of the law’s reporting requirements is too broad and needs further clarification.
“To illustrate the breadth of this definition, it includes appointment booking engines for doctor’s offices – so I have a member health engine that allows a patient to find a suitable doctor nearby and book and pay for it in advance of appointment was an important tool , which the central government is using during the pandemic to ensure patients can find telemedicine services near them, “Moreland said.
“Under the proposed legislation, this platform would now be caught, which means that any GPS or medical service provider offering services through this platform would be required by the platform operator to report very detailed and sensitive information. [a patient’s] full name, birthday, bank details, email address, net and gross income. ”
Moreland added that the reporting system needs to be more targeted to avoid collecting data on users who pose “no or low risk,” saying that almost everyone who works with Airtasker – one of its members – makes money , didn’t earn enough to pass the GST registration threshold.
She warned that these additional reporting requirements could be too burdensome for certain categories of electronics platforms and could potentially create a scenario similar to the Robodebt scandal.
“As we saw when collecting data relating to JobKeeper’s application forms, which led to billions in overestimating customers, user errors when entering data into these forms are not uncommon and can affect the quality of the data and the error and Analysis risk, “she said.
“Because, as Robodebt has shown, if you don’t do the data entry, reconciliation and analysis correctly, you can get results that miscalculate a person’s income, and therefore their liabilities.”
To address these concerns, the TCA recommended in its motion that the government meet with industry to discuss the design elements and implementation of the reporting regime, including whether certain categories of electronic platforms should be exempted from the reporting regime.
Libby Hay, director of corporate affairs at Deliveroo, shared a similar opinion, telling the committee that the reporting scope of the bill was too extensive and would result in Deliveroo offsetting the onerous costs due to the additional administrative requirements that would arise would.
Hay said the reporting system should only apply to companies that operate on one model of the sharing economy, claiming Deliveroo operates on a different model.
She claimed Deliveroo operates on a gig economy model that includes freelancers and independent contractors, while a sharing economy “refers to an economy based on sharing, buying and delivering services by enabling an online platform” . Because of this, Hay said that the ATO would already have the tax information of their food suppliers if they were registered for GST reporting.
“So [the Bill] Coming to us would almost double that request for information as this information is already there, “another Deliveroo representative told the committee.
In its submission to the committee, Deliveroo added that it currently has no insight into the GST treatment of its partners’ products.
“The GST treatment of their products is complex given the GST sentence rules for food and beverages,” wrote Deliveroo.
“If we were to collect this data, we would be at the mercy of restaurants to complete this information completely and accurately, and would put a heavy strain on our business relationships trying to enforce it.”
When asked whether Deliveroo is providing tax assistance to its passengers and restaurant partners, Hay told the committee it wasn’t because they were independent contractors or separate companies.
In June, the ATO announced that since its Tax Avoidance Task Force it had publicized AU $ 6.3 billion in liabilities, AU $ 3.5 billion in cash recoveries, and approximately AU $ 1.1 billion in what it called “expanded revenue effects.” Groups “added was created in 2016.
But after these efforts to thwart tax avoidance by multinational organizations, the ATO said it is now running out of big cases.
“Australia is a relatively small place, there are relatively few companies – because our strategy was not only to collect taxes, but also to change future behavior and ensure future compliance, we have run out of big cases,” said ATO The Second Client Engagement Group Commissioner Jeremy Hirschhorn said at the time.