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


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:

Richard Copp
Richard works for Department of Accounting, Finance and Economics, Griffith Business School, Griffith University.
Current at 1 May 2014
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Author Photo - Brett Freudenberg CTA
Dr Brett Freudenberg CTA
Brett works at the Department of Accounting, Finance and Economics, Griffith Business School, Griffith University. In addition to his taxation teaching, Brett was awarded a PhD for his research into tax transparent companies in the US, the UK and New Zealand, and how Australian closely held businesses may benefit from their introduction. In 2009 Brett was invited to present his PhD research findings to the Australian Treasury as part of the Henry Tax Review. In 2006 Brett received a Fulbright Award, which saw him conducting research at the University of Illinois to analyse the proliferation of new business forms in the United States and their potential application for Australian businesses. Brett has published refereed articles in leading Australian and international tax journals. In addition to his tax expertise, Brett has received a number of teaching accolades, including in 2008 a national teaching citation from the Australian Learning & Teaching Council for his outstanding contributions to student learning. Current at 01 July 2016 Click here to expand/collapse more articles by Brett FREUDENBERG.

Melissa Belle Isle
Melissa works for Griffith University.
Current at 1 September 2014
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