A pain in the financial year end

A pain in the financial year end

Tax changes that took effect from July 1 are already an end of year financial headache, but accounting software vendor, MYOB, has added to the pain, according to one of its resellers.

As business moved to accommodate the first tax scale changes in four years, companies at the small end of town were being stung by MYOB, which was using the ATO changes as a stick to force them to upgrade, according to Phil Hempel of Bundoora-based reseller Computer Manufacturing & Integration (CMI).

MYOB has supplied a free update for its 2003 software range that amends the payroll component with the tax changes. The update can be downloaded, and will also be supplied on CD to members of its MYOB Cover technical support program.

But users of older MYOB packages can’t get this update and face a choice of either upgrading to the latest version or applying the tax scale changes, manually, for each pay run.

MYOB Australia general manager Andrew Fiori-Dea said upgrading was the only option because the tax changes had meant “significant” changes to the software.

“We have to interpret, implement and go through a QA (quality assurance) cycle to comply with payroll changes,” he said.

Such changes needed rigorous testing “because this is a payroll and compliance issue,” Fiori-Dea said.

Hempel discounted MYOB’s explanation that the changes were embedded in the new versions of their products.

The reseller told ARN he’d reported MYOB’s policy on the new tax scales to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC), because previous tax scale changes “were provided on a floppy at a nominal charge and uploaded by the user.”

Hempel said his company would not be upgrading to the latest MYOB software, and would instead manually change the tax scales for each fortnightly pay run.

“This will affect our systems and client systems,” he said. “We find it impossible to peddle this line to our customers.”

Hempel said some MYOB users would leave their payroll software unchanged, which meant employees wouldn’t see their tax break until they got a tax refund at the end of next year.

“But employees want their $4 a week,” he said.

MYOB rival, Quicken, has handled the tax scales slightly differently, making them available for some older products, for a $100 fee. Like MYOB, the update is available free for users of the latest software and subscribers to its tech support programs.

Customers with Payroll Premier 2002, V8 and V7 will be able to download the tax table for $100.

Quicken direct marketing manager, Emma Carroll, said customer feedback on the $100 fee had been positive so far.

“The majority say they just want to download it, and they don’t mind paying,” Carroll said.

Quicken was expecting the hit rate on its website to rise sharply when the download became available last Friday.

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