Australian businesses welcome release of new tax discussion paper

The release of the tax discussion paper which will set out the Government’s priorities on Australia’s future tax system has been welcomed by businesses across Australia.

Treasurer Joe Hockey said the discussion paper entitled, Re:Think, marked “the start of a conversation about how we bring the tax system built before the 1950s into the new century.”

The Re:Think discussion paper largely addressed GST, with suggestions that Australia relies too heavily on income and corporate taxes compared to consumption taxes like GST.

The paper also found that Australia’s GST at 10% is one of the lowest in the developed world at half of the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) average of 20%, allowing the Commonwealth Treasury to push for an increase in the rate of GST and a series of cuts in income and corporate tax, according to SMH.

Although CPA Australia chief executive Alex Malley said the discussion paper was released month’s later than intended, he welcomed the formal start to the Government’s tax review and the debate around GST in the wake of CPA’s tax reform report released last month.

“If Australia is to be globally competitive we need a revitalised tax mix that better positions our country to deal with the demographic, social, economic and environmental challenges of the 21st century,” he said.

“What our report shows is that additional GST revenue can be used to abolish a number of inefficient state taxes and also provide for personal income tax cuts and compensation for low income households, while also boosting economic growth.”

The public sector has also welcomed the tax discussion as an opportunity to strengthen public accounts and priorities as a nation.

National Director of UnitingCare Australia, Lin Hatfield Dodds said “currently we spend more than we collect which is not sustainable. This review is an opportunity to create a more efficient and effective system that collects sufficient funds for the public good and helps to put Australia on a more sustainable economic footing”.

For the retail sector, the CEO of the Australian National Retail Association said that the discussion paper was an important step in creating an efficient, equitable and transparent system without adding to the compliance burden.