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Australia’s SME tax identity crisis


The Australian taxation landscape has never really come to terms with the concept of what it means to be a small business vis-à-vis small to medium sized businesses and larger businesses. Whilst various attempts have been made by successive governments to demonstrate that they have an understanding of what a small business is, tax initiatives in the SME sector have been ad-hoc and reactive in nature.

This article examines and evaluates the various approaches adopted in defining what is a small busines in Australia, and concludes that there are too many and varied definitions of the term small business. This has contributed to policy makers failing to properly identify and target relevant tax concessions in this sector. The Federal Government's proposed legislation to standardise the eligibility criteria for small business tax concessions is a (small) step in the right direction. What is clear, is that a change in approach is well overdue. 

Author profile

Dr Mark Pizzacalla CTA
Mark is Partner-in-Charge of the Private Clients practice at BDO Melbourne as well as being integrally involved in the firm's Tax and Advisory practice. Mark's focus is on both strategic tax advisory and tax compliance as they relate to the private client sector. Mark is a regular speaker on taxation issues, and a prolific writer having contributed significant tax commentary through his numerous articles, publications and conference papers. Mark has been regularly interviewed on Lateline Business in relation to current taxation issues, and is one of the few tax practitioners that has had his work cited in Australia's Parliament. Mark is a current member of The Tax Institutes Technical Committee, and former Chair of The Tax Institutes National SME Sub-Committee. Mark has been appointed by the Federal Government to the Board of Taxation - a non-statutory Board charged with contributing a business and broader community perspective in improving the design of taxation laws and their operation. - Current at 06 September 2016
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