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Foundations For The Future

Publication date: 01 Apr 04 | Source: THE TAX INSTITUTE

New Taxation Institute President, Neil Earle announced the way forward for the year at the opening of the Taxation Institute 18th National Convention

"The Institute will focus on cleaning up the impact of tax reform, particularly compliance costs for small business" Mr Earle said.

Mr Earle's tongue in cheek entrance as the Star Wars character Obi-Wan Kenobi, who has been sent to help battle the Atoids, and rid the system of other tax reform debris, was very apt. However, if the new President and the Taxation Institute has anything to do with it, it won't take the forces of a virtual superhero with superior knowledge and skills to address and conquer the pressure of compliance and tax reform.

Speaking after the Convention opening, Mr Earle was keen to respond to the ATO's media announcement yesterday signalling tougher penalties in the wake of tax reform.

"Tax reform is not over. There are still a significant number of challenges remaining, many a result of the last five years of change" countered Mr Earle.

"I am a small business owner and like many in our industry, I personally know how devastating, high compliance costs and poor implementation of reform can be. We are still very frustrated by the consultative process and seek to have our recommendations, as the people on the firing line, considered more widely and where possible even adopted" said Mr Earle.

"In this election year, we are seeking an open debate on practical compensation measures and an appropriate level of consultation" he added

In order to provide a factual base for this debate, Mr Earle released a 71 page report: Small business: The first casualty of tax reform compliance costs.

"The report's findings clearly identify that businesses face higher compliance costs now than they did in 1998 as a result of massive tax reform. This is very disturbing and needs addressing" commented Mr Earle.

"The sheer fact that there is so much written material available in the market place and that there are continuing enquiries into the system points, towards the fact that tax reform is still of major concern to all" suggested Mr Earle.

"The Small Business report deals with the reasons for the compliance cost blow-out and more importantly suggests ways forward. Other pieces of complimentary reading material are: the recently released Tax Facts, Fiction and Reform report by the Australian Tax Research Foundation's and Legislation by press release announcements by Thomson ATP" added Mr Earle.

"Tax reform is only over when the debris remaining in the system from the reform process is cleaned up" Mr Earle concluded.

The copy of the compliance report, Small business: The first casualty of tax reform compliance costs, authored by Michael Dirkis, Tax Director, Taxation Institute of Australia and Brett Bondfield, Faculty of Law, University of Technology, Sydney can be found here