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Cash flow benefit from GST: Is it realised by small businesses in Australia?

Published on 01 Sep 14 by "AUSTRALIAN TAX FORUM" JOURNAL ARTICLE

When introducing the GST the Federal Government expressed that there would be the potential for business operators to gain a cash flow benefit from holding the GST revenue collected before remittance. However, it is not clear whether this has been realisable by all business sizes especially small businesses. Considering that small businesses are a major contributor of employment in the private sector and recognised as being capable of having a significant influence on future economic stability of the nation, it is important to determine how the GST affects small business cash flow and assess whether a benefit is in fact obtained.

This article reports a multiple case study of small (including micro) businesses with annual turnover of less than $10 million and a full time work force of less than 20 employees. The research explored whether small business participants perceived that there was a cash flow benefit from holding the GST liability for a period of time before it was due to be paid to the Australian Taxation Office. Findings suggest that the realisation of cash flow benefit for businesses trading with other businesses appears to be restricted, particularly as a result of terms of trade with other businesses.

Author profiles

Dr Brett Freudenberg CTA
Brett is a Professor – Taxation at Griffith University (Australia). Brett is known for his research expertise in the tax law and policy issues facing private enterprises, as evidenced by his Fulbright Scholarship (2006) and over 70 refereed publications in leading Australian and international journals. In 2020, he was awarded the national ATTA-Hill medal in recognition of outstanding contribution to Australasian tax policy and tax teaching. Professor Freudenberg’s research has analysed whether Australia should introduce a tax flow-through company, the tax treatment of discretionary trusts and the motivation for choice of business structure. His research has also considered the tax issues confronting private enterprises, reforms for enterprises in the arts sector, as well as to facilitate Islamic finance. Professor Freudenberg’s research has informed government policy as he was invited to present his PhD research findings to the Australian Treasury as part of the Henry Tax Review. Also his PhD was awarded the CCH-ATTA Doctoral Prize which saw it published as a book in 2011: Tax Flow-Through Companies. Brett is passionate about education being a transformative process, and his effectiveness as a teacher has been recognised through five national awards (including the award of two Australian Learning and Teaching Council citations: 2008 & 2011). - Current at 17 April 2020
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Melissa Belle Isle
Melissa works for Griffith University.
Current at 1 September 2014
Richard Copp
Richard is a Senior Lecturer, Department of Accounting, Finance, and Economics, Griffith Business School,Griffith University, Brisbane, Australia.
Current at 1 April 2017
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