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  • Research summary

    Overview of key insights across all audiences

    The following insights were common to representatives across all audiences:

    • If reporting via Simplified GST is really straight-forward, non-resident businesses would be more likely to do the ongoing reporting themselves even if a tax services provider assisted them to start with.
    • Two-thirds of respondents said that they would not use, or permit the use of a personal device to register, report, and pay GST. Of those who said they would use a personal device, only one would use a mobile phone. Where the use of personal devices/mobiles was not expressly prohibited, those interviewed said that they were only used to read emails or view client data. Only in a few cases (less than 8%) would respondents consider using their mobile to edit client data.

    Key insights into Simplified GST

    • All non-resident respondents would register for Simplified GST as they don’t expect to incur expenses in Australia. Tax advisors said they would register their clients for full GST reporting only if they have expenses in Australia. If possible, they would like to see a feature in the Simplified GST system which allows non-resident businesses with ‘one off ‘ or ‘occasional expenses’ to claim input tax credits to avoid having to register for full GST reporting. These can arise where a non-resident business incurred expenses from one-off business trip to Australia.
    • When registering the non-resident business and providing the address, approximately 50% said that they would provide the address of the company headquarters, 40% said they would provide the main business address and 10% said they would provide both.
    • More than half said they would use machine to machine reporting if it were available. However, they would do so only if they were able to maintain control, that is, reviewing and editing before submitting.
    • Quarterly reporting works for most respondents (96%) and the remainder would accommodate it.
    • The preferred payment methods in order of preference are: Swift, corporate credit card, PayPal, Amex, Western Union, Virtual cross-border jurisdiction accounts, bank transfer from the trust account of an Australian tax advisor, for the cases where they make payments on behalf of their clients.
    • Two-thirds said that making it mandatory to provide a tax identification number would not present a problem for most users.
    • There are some concerns around not providing an ABN to the non-resident business and not conducting proof of identity checks. This is discussed in more detail in the ‘Australian tax advisors’ section.

    Key insights into the authentication solution

    • A credential issued by the ATO was the most preferred credential, followed by an Australian Whole of Government (WoG) credential. Leveraging credential users have established with existing accounts, such as Gmail, Hotmail (now Outlook) or Facebook is not seen as secure or as appropriate for accessing a government system.
    • Most respondents want to register for a credential at the time they first access the online service. In most cases that would be when they register the non-resident business. Some non-resident businesses would first access the system when they first report.
    • One credential per tax firm and one credential per non-resident business is required and in both cases multiple people would require access to that. More than 50% of non-resident business respondents said they would have >6 people access the credential.

    Figure 1: Credentials preferences for intermediary and non-resident businesses

    Tax service providers indicated that they would want one credential per firm with the ability to set up different user accounts for their staff for which they would like to manage access controls.
Non-resident business staff are looking for a shared business account that can be accessed by multiple authorised people

    User goals and important features of the solution

    The below tables shows the key features and user goals validated during user research with 30 participants:

    Important features of the solution

    Very important for all

    Important for at least 50%

    Not Important for most

    Important features for:


    (both authentication and the Simplified GST system)

    • Desktop/laptop solution
    • Minimal steps to sign up and login
    • Authentication portable to different machines.
    • High level of security.
    • Easy management of teams and user access.
    • Email and/or secure messaging.
    • System availability notifications.
    • User goals:
      • It's quick and easy to set up.
      • It's quick and easy to login.
      • Your account can't be hacked.
      • Your privacy is protected.
      • You only have to register once.
      • You can always get access.
    • Tight controls over staff/representative access.
    • Requiring minimal information to set up and log in.
    • Expert and admin support.
    • Real person at contact point.
    • View of last use and who logged in.
    • Mobile device solution.
    • 24 hour support.
    • language support.
    • Alternative administration contact.

    Important features of the SIMPLIFIED GST SYSTEM

    • Ability to meet GST obligations in Australia at low costs to the non-resident business.
    • Easy, simplified and streamlined business registration, reporting and payment of GST.
    • Ability for business staff or intermediaries to report and pay GST on behalf of the non-resident business
    • Digital interaction only - a centralised digital environment to interact with the ATO for all dealings, including support
    • Quarterly reporting and payment via SWIFT, credit card and PayPal.
    • Ability to register as soon as the non-resident businesses find out they have an obligation in Australia (also after)
    • Correction of mistakes on future returns (rather than amendments)
    • A two field return.
    • Access to historical data on the account including past payments.
    • Offset future debts when there is a credit with the flexibility to request a refund when needed.
    • Low level proof-of- identity checks to register for GST reporting.
    • Provision of minimal information about this non-resident business, contacts and GST transactions to register and report GST.
    • Lodgment reminders/alerts.
    • Status of the account, i.e., returns/payments outstanding.
    • Access to GST rates and practical application of the law (how to apply it to what).
    • No desire or requirement to obtain an ABN.
    • Auto correct GST payable
    • Access to historical client details.

    Important features of the AUTHENTICATION SOLUTION

    • Ability to register for a credential at the time of registering the non-resident business.
    • A single sign- on for the non-resident business that can be accessed by multiple people (allow for >6 users).
    • You have one credential per tax advisor that can be accessed by multiple staff to act on behalf of any non-resident business they represent.
    • Change access details, like name and passwords.
    • Set the level of control for different users.
    • Differentiate between an administrator and general user.
    • Keep personal and business information separate and if you ask for personal information, only for the name and email address.
    • Credential transferrable between multiple devices.
    • Password authentication was preferred over biometric means of authentication such as voice or fingerprint.
    • Alternative authentication method when the primary fails.
    • Transfer the digital ID from one person to another.
    • Use the same digital ID with other Australian Government services.
    • Ability to choose the user name.
    • Replace the Australian Taxation Office digital ID with a whole of Australian government solution once it becomes available.
    • Credential locked down to a single device.
      Last modified: 03 May 2018QC 55175