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Government must push ahead with GST, says Taxation Institute

Publication date: 17 May 99 | Source: THE TAX INSTITUTE

The Howard Government must continue to push for reform of Australias ailing taxation system including the adoption of a comprehensive broad based consumption tax, according to Taxation Institute of Australia President, Mr Gordon Cooper.

"Given the significant changes to the nature of Australias economy and the increasing emphasis on services, it is essential that the Government takes this opportunity to introduce widespread and fundamental reform of the taxation system," said Mr Cooper.

The Taxation Institute of Australia has been vocal in its support of a single rate broad based consumption tax for a number of years. However, the Institute believes it should not be seen as a general panacea for current problems with Australian taxation system. GST can only work in conjunction with the rest of the tax reform measures, and be utilised as a source of funding for changes to the tax system, including the abolition of a number of State taxes.

"The introduction of a GST must be progressed as an essential piece of overall taxation reform. The application of a GST to the broadest possible base will lower compliance costs, ensure ease of administration of the system by the ATO and minimise the risk of tax avoidance," Mr Cooper said.

"Thus, it is desirable that food be included in the GST net. However, if for political reasons it is not possible to achieve this, the Institute recommends that food be GST free, rather than input taxed," he said.

"This opportunity for the Government to take some real steps towards providing all Australians with a better taxation platform is too good to miss. The Government must find a solution to the impasse in the Senate and push ahead with its program for reform."