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pjf (2464)

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I run Perl Training Australia [].

I help with Melbourne Perl Mongers.

I spend an awful lot of time talking about Perl, and have had my picture in the Australian newspapers with a camel. That's rather scary.

Journal of pjf (2464)

Thursday June 17, 2004
12:37 AM

Intellectually bankrupt business practices

[ #19313 ]

This is a rant.

In Australia, almost all goods and services carry a 'Goods and Services Tax', or GST. This tax is paid by end consumers, but businesses can claim it back at the end of each accounting period. To do this, the business needs to have a 'Tax Invoice' that records the details of the purchase. All businesses will request tax invoices when making purchases, and most give them out as a matter of course, since every business transaction will request one.

The requirements on a tax invoice aren't very difficult. It needs to show the name of the supplier, the amount, the date, how much GST is applied (usually 1/11th of the total), and the words 'Tax Invoice'. They're designed to be very simple.

Qantas, who service the Australian domestic and international airflight market, don't send out tax invoices with their bookings. One needs to contact them and request an invoice, spend a lot of time on hold, have them call you back, get escalated, be transferred to their accounts depart, and even then it doesn't arrive half the time.

To me, this seems like business madness. The existing documents that Qantas sends can be changed into valid tax invoices with only minor alterations. This would save them an incredible amount of staff time when businesses choose to call chasing a tax invoice.

Perl Training Australia is looking at making it company policy *not* to book flights through Qantas, as the amount saved on tickets (if anything) is usually considerably less than the costs in our staff time chasing them for the proper paperwork. As a training organisation, a lot of our business involves flying our trainers around for business. I'm sure we're not the only organisation having made this decision.

All of this is even more incredible as Qantas market themselves as a 'quality' provider of flights. Their main competition market themselves as 'budget' airflight providers, but provide tax invoices every time, without needing to have a request.

Normally 'budget' providers are the ones who are difficult to obtain tax invoices from.

I wonder how the Australian Tax Office sends its representatives interstate?

Apparently there are two ways of generating a tax invoice at Qantas. One is long and painful and takes about three days. It's what they use when they're talking to a business' accounts department, because it maximizes pain for the accountants involve. The other way is quick and simple, and takes no more than five seconds to complete.

Apparently most staff are only used to dealing with this the old way, or not at all. Some staff members know they can select 'Send GST Tax Invoice' from the menu in front of them, and then things happen very quickly. The trick is to get the right staff member.

We now have the extension number to a very helpful customer service representative who knows things can be done the fast way, so hopefully our Tax Invoice issues should diminish in future.

I still think Qantas should send them out by default.

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