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Government urged to simplify tax system and progress Outstanding reforms

Publication date: 18 Apr 13 | Source: THE TAX INSTITUTE

Tax Institute members identify the top policy areas in need of Government attention

18 April 2013: Simplifying the tax system and progressing stalled tax reforms are amongst the most urgent tax election issues according to tax professional members of The Tax Institute.

In a far-reaching survey of The Tax Institute’s 13,000 members, the tax issues in most need of urgent reform included alleviating the weighty compliance burden on small business and reforming State taxes funded by an increased share of the GST.

The national survey by Australia’s peak tax body found almost half (45%) of respondents cited a simplification of tax laws to alleviate the compliance burden on small business as the most urgent issue. Just over a third (36%) pointed to the reform of State taxes supported by increased funding from the GST.

According to Robert Jeremenko, Senior Tax Counsel at The Tax Institute, the findings illustrate the long-held concern of tax professionals that the current tax system is cumbersome, particularly for small business owners, and in serious need of simplification.

“The Government must continue the significant work that remains to be undertaken in simplifying tax laws to alleviate the compliance burden on small business.  This includes exploring the possibility of creating a separate ‘small business entity’ structure; streamlining definitions and access to small business concessions; and simplifying carry-forward loss integrity measures.

“It’s also clear that tax professionals want the Government to take a leadership position on State tax reform, which includes increasing reliance on the GST and abolishing inefficient and complicated State taxes, such as conveyance duties and insurance duties,” he said.

The survey also found 23% of respondents called for greater certainty in the application of tax laws by legislating unenacted measures sooner after their announcement.

“So far there have been scores of tax laws announced which remain unenacted.  This hurts business’s certainty and confidence in the tax system,” Mr Jeremenko said.

In addition to the above findings, 29% of respondents called for a modernisation of the complex trust tax law provisions.

Additional findings to emerge from the survey included 67% of respondents calling for an equitable and sustainable superannuation system for the long-term.

While these responses were gathered prior to the Government announcing its intended reforms to superannuation earlier this month, Mr Jeremenko said it was clear tax professionals were after real reform of superannuation, not tinkering around the edges.

“When Governments tinker with the superannuation system it risks harming people's confidence in the system and in putting their hard-earned money aside to save for their retirement,” he said.

ENDS

Contacts: 

  • Robert Jeremenko, Senior Tax Counsel, The Tax Institute, 0468 987 300