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16 Aug 06 Treasurer announces reduction in small business red tape

In a press release issued on 15 August 2006 (No 2006/088), the Treasurer, Peter Costello, announced the Government’s final response to the Banks Taskforce report "Rethinking Regulation: Report of the Taskforce on Reducing Regulatory Burdens on Business", addressing all 178 recommendations of its recommendations. The Government has agreed in full or in part to 158 of the recommendations.

In its final response, the Government has committed to address the regulatory burden across a wide range of sectors and business activities. Action in specific areas includes:

- tougher rules for making new regulation, including cost benefit analysis;
- screening of all regulation at least every five years;
- work to harmonise State and Territory conveyancing laws;
- an FBT reporting exclusion for pooled motor vehicles; and
- a simplified GST accounting method to be developed for small restaurants, cafes and caterers (see 2006 TAXVINE No 30 (9) (11 August 2006) and Treasurer's press release No 2006/090, 15 August 2006).

The response to the report’s recommendations includes measures announced in the Government's interim response to the report in April 2006, including:

- an increase in the minor fringe benefits exemption threshold from $100 to $300, effective from 1 April 2007; and
- an increase in the fringe benefits reporting exclusion threshold from $1000 to $2000, effective from 1 April 2007.

In a separate press release (No 2006/089, 15 August 2006), the Treasurer announced that a committee of Australian and State Government officials will be established to examine the case for the introduction of standardised business reporting. This new project has the potential to reduce business reporting costs significantly and complement the measures announced in the Government’s response to the Taskforce on Reducing the Regulatory Burden on Business. The committee will be chaired by Treasury, and will consult with Australian, state and local government agencies and undertake targeted consultation with the business sector.

The aim will be to reduce compliance costs for a wide range of businesses through the establishment of an IT-based system which would allow businesses to report to relevant authorities in a consistent manner. This would remove the need for businesses to individually report to various government agencies at the Commonwealth, state and local levels.

A progress report will be provided to the Government by the end of 2006.

For a copy of Treasurer's press release No 2006/088, 15 August 2006, go here

For a copy of Treasurer's press release No 2006/089, 15 August 2006, go here

For a copy of Treasurer's press release No 2006/090, 15 August 2006, go here

For a copy of the Final Government Response, go here

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