Govt kicks off SBR online reporting

Govt kicks off SBR online reporting

Summary: The government has announced the start of its Standard Business Reporting (SBR) program, which allows businesses and reporting professionals such as accountants, bookkeepers and tax agents to lodge government forms electronically.


The government has announced the start of its Standard Business Reporting (SBR) program, which allows businesses and reporting professionals such as accountants, bookkeepers and tax agents to lodge government forms electronically.

"From today businesses and reporting professionals using SBR-enabled software will be able to pre-fill and complete government forms directly from their own accounting system and lodge electronically to participating government agencies using the single secure sign-on AUSkey," Financial Services Minister Chris Bowen said in a statement.

The software allows businesses to spend less time working on reporting, and is expected to save them $800 million annually once fully up and running, according to Finance Minister Lindsay Tanner. Businesses will also receive real-time receipts detailing their interaction with the government.

The reports supported by the statement include Business Activity Statements, Tax File Number Declarations, PAYG payment summaries, payroll tax returns and financial statements.

IBM was awarded $26.6 million in contracts to design and develop core IT systems for the SBR initiative. IBM also will provide ongoing support for the system under a 12-month contract worth an additional $2.7 million, signed in May 2010.

Transactions are secured via AUSkey, an online security credential developed for Standard Business Reporting, which will be a single key to access online government services. The new credential was put into action in April.

"In just over five weeks over 51,000 AUSkeys have been issued, to over 36,000 Australian businesses. AUSkey is positioned to be the single key to access government online services," Bowen said.

Topics: Government, Government AU, Security

Luke Hopewell

About Luke Hopewell

A fresh recruit onto the tech journalism battlefield, Luke Hopewell is eager to see some action. After a tour of duty in the belly of the Telstra beast, he is keen to report big stories on the enterprise beat. Drawing on past experience in radio, print and magazine, he plans to ask all the tough questions you want answered.

Suzanne Tindal

About Suzanne Tindal

Suzanne Tindal cut her teeth at as the site's telecommunications reporter, a role that saw her break some of the biggest stories associated with the National Broadband Network process. She then turned her attention to all matters in government and corporate ICT circles. Now she's taking on the whole gamut as news editor for the site.

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  • AUSKey is a step backwards. It only works on selected Microsoft Windows and Apple OSX versions. No support for Linux or other alternative operating systems. At least the old CSI system was Java based and usable from a Linux platform.

    I honestly can not comprehend why the ATO feels the need to force people to use proprietary software instead of using the standard PKI capabilities built into most modern web browsers.

    Of course, any attempts at communicating with the ATO to get some idea of how non-Windows and non-OSX clients are supposed to make use of their system go unanswered. Perhaps ZDNet can attempt to get some answers from the ATO using their media credentials.
  • Our company Hunter Media Solutions is working with IAM - Imapct Account Manager who from 13/5/10 became the only SBR enabled software available to ABN Holders.

    With features that make life very simple IAM will be the way forward. We have been getting great support from Industry and Corporates as they seek a suitable SBR accounting program.
    $240 upfront or $29 per month for 12-months - NO Transaction limits and audit insurance in the rare event you are audited we'll cover your expenses up to $2000 per audit or up to $8,000 per customer.

    We believe IAM will revolutionize the way business doing their reporting, we are concerned that some product are trying to leverage SBR without being SBR compliant or some brands have started trading off the heritage with inferior products confusing consumers.

    Ben Hunter - Hunter Media Solutions
    The Cherry Ox
  • Hi Peter,

    Apparently developing for Linux is "cost prohibitive" so I'd suspect the answer would be going out and buying a proprietary system. Which isn't exactly fair. They say less than one per cent of business users are running Linux.

    Suzanne Tindal, News Editor
  • Suzanne,

    Thanks for following up on this. The issue here is not developing for Windows, Linux, OSX or any other specific platform. (Incidentally, the ATO collects billions of dollars, so budgeting even $100,000 for an open source solution should not be "cost prohibitive".) The real issue is not using industry standard security infrastructure. All modern browsers support user security certificates, just as they support HTTPS and server certificates. All that would be required for ATO to do, is make use of these facilities.

    Back in the 90's, I worked on a pilot electronic tax lodgement solution for the ATO. We supported submitting income tax on a 3.5" floppy disk or online. Even back then, we managed to support a multitude of browsers and operating systems, as diverse as Netscape on SGI Irix.

    I'm not quite sure where ATO are getting figures for the number of businesses that use Linux, but I can tell you that if they are looking at the User-Agent strings from their web server logs, they are not getting the right information. Their (flawed) browser detection will refuse to display many pages if the browser identifies itself as Firefox on Linux. If I configure the same browser to lie and pretend it's IE8, the pages load and work. This is a commonly known workaround, used by many people.
  • IAM - Interactive Accounts Manager is the only SBR enabled application available to Australian ABN Holders.

    What's Smart about paying fee's twice and double handling of your business reports when there is a more cost effective streamline option for you?

    Interactive Accounts Manager is easy to use online accounting for Micro & Small Business owners that has been saving clients time and money and has the support of Industry, Government and Business community.
    The Cherry Ox
  • SBR was designed and created to stream line business-to-government reporting, if businesses use SBR software the country saves $800mill.

    What is SBR enabled software? It's an accounting application to help save us time, money so business can go direct to government to lodge reports.

    There will be a growing majority with old programs and methods who resist change and see this as a grudge purchase but there is a cost effective application called Interactive Accounts Manager that is getting strong support from Industry and Private sector.
    You can move your records too or start fresh, it's the ONLY SBR enabled application, web based so it's real time, can synch with the Govt, it's more time and cost effective that "the old ways", no annoying transaction caps and included BAS audit insurance which alone would cost a small business $600- $900 in premiums per year.
    Some will see this as a grudge decision but the industry and technology has moved on so much sine PC based accounting come in and even e-record is a glorified excel spreadsheet. Everyone who has been switching can only see positives... Imagine being at a job, using your iphone to raise and invoice and have it automatically sit on in your accounts ledger... Should we go back to using analogue network too then? Or do with bring back the Commodore 64?
    The Cherry Ox
  • Small Australian Businesses who are interested to find the current supporting SBR products are able to look at the SBR register here:

    Our company, who is on the same list, provides small business accounting software developed especially for the small and micro Australian businesses.

    We believe our product provides a cost effective, simple to use, ATO complaint and feature full solution which can fit the needs and likes of many businesses.

    We don't you join the hundreds of people that have given our product a go?
  • Nominal isn't the first or only accounting software as suggested on it's website for small business to lodge BAS. Do the research and sums and Impact is the best product.
    check out and look at the amount of certifications it has, these guys know their stuff.
    The Cherry Ox