Small business wants reform

Anita McInnes , ECHO News, 18.6.16

WHEN Federal Small Business Minister Kelly O’Dwyer spoke at a Swan Chamber of Commerce lunch during the lead up to the July 2 election during question time an accountant said small business was more interested in tax being simplified than the rate being reduced.

Account Robert Lopez said instead of business activity statements being filled out monthly small business should be able to do it once a year when their tax return was done.

His comment was met with a positive response from some business owners attending the lunch.

The Swan Chamber of Commerce president Gerry Hanssen said some years ago small businesses could meet up with representatives from the Australian Taxation Office to discuss a new business plan and the tax implications that could result.

The Honda Shop and WA Loan Co managing director Eddie Peters said many businesses (about 44 a day) were closing because they couldn’t compete with purchases people made online for goods under $1000, which did not attract GST.

Mr Peters said the business community was glad to hear the Liberal Government was getting rid of the GST tax threshold and that purchases under $1000 would attract the 10 per cent GST from July 1, 2017.

He said a former banker now politician had told him it should be set up so banks collected the GST.

“Why wait until 2017 when if you did it through the banks you wouldn’t have to wait that long,’’ he said.

After the meeting Ms O’Dwyer said she had referred the details raised in the meeting to the Australian Taxation Office.

She said the Australian Taxation Office had small business fix-it-squads, which tackled issues faced by small businesses across government agencies.

“Small businesses are the backbone are our economy and the Coalition is committed to setting the right business conditions,’’ she said.

“We have announced an extensive small business package which includes small business tax cuts and incentives, including the company tax rate being reduced to 27.5 per cent in July and the $20,000 instant asset write off being extended.”

The Australian Taxation Office website said as from May 9 the Australian Government assumed a caretaker role and the continuation of the GST threshold would be a matter for the incoming government to decide.

Federal Opposition Small Business spokeswoman Michelle Rowland said if elected Labor would examine some regulatory measures, including the different definitions of small business across legislation and how small businesses engage with the Australian Taxation Office.

Labor will always encourage small businesses to meet with representatives from the ATO and seek input from a range of stakeholders on improving administration and bureaucracy,” she said.

“We support the lowering of the GST low value threshold in principle.

“The Federal Government has had a slow, shambolic and secretive approach to how it will implement its enforcement regime.

“Small businesses are right to ask how the government intends on levelling the playing field.”