Opportunity for businesses to voice tax concerns as federal budget and election loom

Lance Cunningham

Lance Cunningham

As the tax reform debate reaches fever pitch ahead of this year’s Australian federal election, businesses of all sizes have been invited to weigh in as part of the fifth annual BDO Tax Reform Survey.

Open until 11 March, the survey gives businesses around the country a cumulative voice to highlight the tax measures most in need of change, such as those stifling local investment and growth.

BDO National Tax Director Lance Cunningham said the effects of tax reform would reverberate far and wide throughout the business community, across all sectors and from solo operators through to SMEs and large corporations.

“It’s been more than eight months since hundreds of Australian individuals, businesses and groups made formal submissions in response to the Federal Government’s tax discussion paper, and frustration has continued to build that a reform package has not been forthcoming,” Mr Cunningham said.

“With the Federal Government now ruling out a tax reform white paper, opting instead to present its long-awaited tax reform package as part of the 2016-17 federal budget, the BDO Tax Reform Survey will provide a pre-budget opportunity for Australian businesses to have their say on reforming tax measures like the GST, stamp duty, superannuation, company tax rate, fringe benefits tax and capital gains tax.

“The business environment has evolved exponentially since most of the current measures were put in place, and not only are Australian businesses looking for simpler and fairer tax solutions, they are seeking a tax system that helps them thrive within a more globally competitive and digitally-driven economy.

“Last year, respondents pointed to GST and state taxes as the two most vexing issues, with 90.3% of respondents agreeing that GST must be considered in any tax reform discussion and 71% agreeing the GST rate should be increased to fund the abolition of state payroll taxes and stamp duties.

“65.6% of survey respondents also suggested Australia’s tax system wasn’t competitive with those of international counterparts, while just 4.2% believed the tax system promotes Australia as a desirable location for regional headquarters and investment.”

This year’s survey responses will be released in April 2016.

Past responses – from hundreds of Australian businesses – helped form BDO’s submission to the Australian Government’s Re:think Tax Reform Discussion Paper process last year.

Results from the 2014-15 BDO Tax Reform Survey are available here.

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