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  • GST governance and risk management: government

    We have developed the Government checklist as a guide to help government-related entities – including local government, government-owned corporations and statutory corporations – assess the effectiveness of their goods and services tax (GST) governance, risk management, internal assurance processes and procedures.

    It is an interactive guide that can be completed electronically or on paper and you may add or alter the content to suit your entity's specific needs.

    Undertaking a comprehensive assessment of your entity's GST governance and risk management processes allows you to check them against best practice actions. Use this checklist as a guide to help you determine if your processes follow best practice and not as a substitute for any detailed review processes and/ or monitoring programs already in place.

    This page explains how to get the form, how to use the checklist, what to do if you find a discrepancy in your GST reporting, and provides an overview of the checklist.

    How to get the form

    Double clicking the form won't open it. The form will not load on a mobile device, tablet or within a browser.

    To complete the form, you must save it to your desktop computer or laptop (with the latest version of Adobe Acrobat installed).

    • To download, right click on the link below and select Save target as (or a similar option depending on your internet browser) to save it to your computer.
    • The Government checklist(NAT 74780, PDF, 969.41KB) This link will download a file  
    • Open your saved form with Adobe Acrobat Reader DC and enable JavaScript if prompted before filling in the form.
    • Once you've completed your form, save it using the Save form button at the end of the form.

    Tip: Update your default app for pdf file types to Adobe Acrobat Reader DC to open all pdf files with Adobe Acrobat.

    The checklist will help you:

    • identify your GST governance, risk management and assurance processes
    • determine whether your processes follow best practice
    • help you to meet your GST compliance obligations
    • identify additional measures you can take to reduce the risk of GST compliance failures.

    Completing this assessment will help you check if:

    • you are paying the correct amount of GST
    • you are able to lodge and pay on time
    • you are prepared for any unusual transactions or system failures
    • you and your staff have the skills and expertise to manage your GST affairs
    • your systems can cater for growth and expansion
    • you are getting the GST credits you are entitled to.

    The checklist does not form part of your reporting requirements.

    Benefits of good governance and risk management

    Managing your tax risk appropriately is core to good corporate governance. Good governance and effective risk management help ensure your entity meets its commitments to government. They are also important in managing the risks associated with the outcomes of compliance failures such as tax shortfalls or overpayments.

    Terms we use

    • government related entity: includes government departments, government owned corporations and statutory bodies
    • governance: the processes and policies that regulate your organisation
    • risk management: the identification, management and minimisation of the risk of your organisation failing to meet its GST obligations
    • staff: people who play an active role in the entry of data and the preparation of your activity statement. 

    How to use the checklist

    We recommend you use the checklist regularly, for example every 12 months, to review your GST assurance and compliance processes. We also recommend you undertake this assessment if you encounter:

    • changes in  
      • software
      • key personnel
      • organisational structure, including machinery of government changes
      • GST regulation  
       
    • significant shifts in the size and scope of your entity
    • an unusual or complex transaction

    If you encounter any of the points listed above, you are at an increased risk of incorrectly reporting GST.

    Completing the checklist

    When completing the checklist, it is in your own best interest to be completely honest:

    • consider each point and respond to the best of your knowledge
    • involve all available relevant parties (your tax manager, tax advisers or data processing staff)
    • talk to your specialist business areas (if required)
    • gather evidence to support your answers.

    By looking at your responses and the evidence you collect, you will be able to determine how effective your organisation’s GST governance and risk management processes are.

    What is evidence?

    Evidence will help you prove your entity meets the best practice actions set out in the checklist. Examples of possible sources of evidence could be:

    • records of tests
    • samples
    • descriptions of processes
    • invoices/receipts
    • endorsement forms
    • copies or links to documents, or detail of their location
    • reports
    • staff records.

    Some difficulties may be encountered using the interactive PDF checklist with screen reader applications. We are working toward developing a fully accessible version of the checklists.

    If you encounter difficulties, contact Phillip Davies on (07) 3213 3194 for assistance.

    What to do if a discrepancy is found

    We recommend that after completing the checklist, you communicate the results with the relevant individuals, such as tax managers and tax advisers and, where applicable, senior management and internal audit.

    After reviewing your systems and controls you may discover an error or discrepancy with your reported GST that increases your liabilities or reduces your credits. If this happens, we encourage you to make a voluntary disclosure. Reduced penalties may apply if you let us know before we commence an audit.

    Get it done

    Make a voluntary disclosure

    Overview of checklist

    In the checklist you will fill in the following sections:

    No.

    Section

    Content

    1

    Governance

    Analyse your governance risk management procedures and processes.

    2

    Processing

    Review and address issues around processing and reporting your data.

    2a

    Documented processes

    Understand the role of your staff in your GST affairs and ways to maintain consistency, and assess your documentation standards.

    2b

    GST transactions

    Analyse how your systems deal with GST transactions.

    2c

    Reconciliation

    Identify where errors have occurred and where system deficiencies may exist; assess whether you have correct processes in place.

    3

    Resources and capabilities

    Assess the resources and capabilities that exist in your entity and whether you have the correct processes in place.

    3a

    Staffing

    Identify whether your staff have the skills and experience to effectively deal with your GST obligations – key issues to consider.

    3b

    Segregation of duties

    Identify your segregation process – allows for greater oversight, reducing the impact of key employees leaving your organisation and the potential for fraud.

    3c

    Business continuity

    Check whether you have the correct processes in place – by ensuring your entity has appropriate continuity procedures in place, you will be able to deal with unexpected circumstances, ensuring you will still be able to meet your tax obligations.

    4

    Assurance (testing and review)

    Regular reviews will allow you to check whether your systems are functioning correctly and that you have correct processes in place.

    More information

    • Visit these websites    
    • Refer to other ATO governance and risk management guides  
      • SME simple checklist (NAT 73949A, 280KB) - helps you undertake a simple self assessment of your GST governance and risk management processes. This checklist is aimed at businesses with a turnover between $2 million and $10 million.
      •  SME comprehensive checklist (NAT 73949B, 365KB) - helps you undertake a comprehensive self assessment of your GST governance and risk management processes. This checklist is aimed at businesses with a turnover greater than $10 million but may also be suitable for businesses with a turnover between $2 million and $10 million.
      • Businesses with a turnover between $100 million and $250 million may want to complete the GST governance and risk management guide for large businesses (NAT 73616, 233KB) instead.
       
      Last modified: 16 Jul 2014QC 41326