With just one month to go before the GST kicks in, widespread corporate IT ill-preparedness seems likely, says Gartner analyst Bruce McCabe.
McCabe referred to a recent Gartner survey which found that nearly half of Australia's large businesses and government agencies did not expect to have fully functional GST technology systems in place before the June 1 deadline.
The Gartner survey received responses from a sample of more than 400 Australian enterprises and government agencies.
According to the survey, McCabe said, the main reasons cited for GST ill-preparedness were slow-arriving accountancy software upgrades, inadequately trained staff, and "constantly changing" taxation legislation.
"The burden of responsibility is firmly on the government's shoulders for introducing something so complex . . . and for introducing legislation that was so poorly developed a year ago that it had to be written and rewritten," McCabe said.
For this reason, he stressed that it was necessary for the ATO to be "extremely flexible" for the first six months of GST legislation. "I believe they have an obligation to be flexible in dealing with all its (the GST's) discrepancies," he said.
McCabe predicted that the first months of GST legislation would be "chaotic", while IT managers struggled with "niggling" taxation software issues.
However, IDC analyst Graham Penn shifted the blame for enterprise IT ill-preparedness onto the opposition, who he said had spent "nine months arguing about the small print".
Businesses had been reluctant to implement new taxation software systems without first seeing a final legislation delivered by the ATO, he said.