UPDATE: Reseller battlers still suffer GST $200 certificate hold-ups

Frustrated rural resellers face yet another challenge for their survival as the Government's $200 GST Assist certificates issued to small businesses are still causing apparent reimbursement dilemmas for many of the country's regional resellers.

As reported in ARN last week (19 July 2000), the $200 GST Assist certificates were issued to enable small business to purchase GST-related goods and services including hardware, software, consulting and/or training to assist in the transition to the new tax system.

These certificates could be redeemed at any one of 10,000 registered supply companies - the majority being resellers - who in turn, were to be reimbursed by the GST Start-up Assistance Office, using an automated system, within 14 days of receipt. However, many resellers have reported delays of up to several weeks.

Furthermore, some resellers contacted by ARN are unwilling to speak out, in fear of what they claim could entice potential repercussions by Government taxation offices. Officials from the GST Start-Up Office, which issue the reimbursements, were not available for comment.

One small reseller servicing a town and an outer-laying rural area of nearly 8000 people, has submitted up to $12,000 worth of GST Assist vouchers and has received only $3200 to date.

"This claim that payments are made within 14 days is absolute rubbish. Six weeks would be closer to the mark, and we don't get told the payments have been paid into our bank. Originally we did, but that has ceased," the reseller told ARN.

"But then, we are talking to a Government department who have no concept of the real world or the retail industry, until you owe them money," the source said.

"It seriously affected our cash flow. As a small rural reseller, we have to pay upfront for all our [software] programs and most hardware purchases," the reseller added. "So far, I have had to get a temporary extension on my overdraft - which costs money and [attracts] higher interest - and borrowed from an investment I have just to fund the purchases."