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Small Business Consultative Committee's outrage at ATO money grab justified, says Tax Institute

Publication date: 09 Jun 99 | Source: THE TAX INSTITUTE

The Taxation Institute of Australia has thrown its support behind members of the Small Business Consultative Committee angry at the Australian Tax Office money grab for a share of the $500 million earmarked for GST implementation.

"Implementation of the GST and other tax reform measures is the greatest hurdle facing business since the introduction of decimal currency 33 years ago," said Taxation Institute of Australias Tax Director, Mr Michael Dirkis.

"Unlike the extensive assistance offered to business in the lead up to the February 1966 changes, the Government is offering a mere $333 per GST collection point. Given the compliance costs ranging from an average $5,000 for a small business up to a reported $50 million for a large retailing group, and $100 million for each big bank, this $333 is clearly inadequate," he said.

The Taxation Institute said the $500 million of funding available should be directed to reducing the cost of putting computers in every corner store from Broom to Brisbane and from Burketown to Burnie rather than for Tax Office publicity campaigns.

"The Tax Office has already been allocated $45 million for public advertising and education next financial year. Surely this is a sufficient budget for communicating the broad impacts and changes of the GST to the Australian public. What does it need more money for?" asked Mr Dirkis.

"Given the existing Tax Office budget, the Small Business Consultative Committee are right in advocating that if some of the funds are to provide further education then these should be directed to the professional associations to conduct education of advisers and develop education packages for their clients," he said.

"Small business primary source of taxation information is their independent and highly skilled professional adviser  not the Tax Office. Small business retain their advisers to keep them informed of changes and to address the particular needs of their business."

"If the Government is serious about facilitating smooth and efficient implementation of the GST, listen to small business and direct the funds to where small business can really use them. After all, the whole process should be about allowing business to get on with taking care of business shouldnt it?", he said.