PwC has now partnered with the UNSW Business School’s Tax Clinic to help small businesses and individuals navigate their tax obligations and the stimulus measures during the COVID-19 crisis.
The Tax Clinic, part of the government-funded National Tax Clinic Program, will offer free tax advice to people and small businesses in genuine financial distress, while providing UNSW students an opportunity to develop their tax technical skill in a hands-on environment.
PwC will offer over 30 staff volunteers from its Sydney office as part of the alliance in what it has termed as Australia’s “largest pro bono tax professional cohort” from a single professional services firm.
“This is an extremely challenging time for many small businesses, and having access to expert advice is more important than ever,” PwC tax partner Ali Noroozi said.
“We are delighted to be able to partner with UNSW Business School on this initiative to help make a real difference to those who may be under pressure at this time.”
KPMG will also continue its partnership with the tax clinic by providing a regular secondee from its tax controversy team.
KPMG Australia’s head of tax dispute resolution and controversy, Angela Wood, said assisting with the Tax Clinic is a high priority for KPMG, “especially now as so many are facing into difficult times”.
“We are keen to continue to support financially vulnerable businesses and individuals through the program at the same time as helping to develop valuable skills in the students we are assisting to mentor,” Ms Wood said.
UNSW Tax Clinic co-founder and the university’s Business School senior lecturer, Ann Kayis-Kumar, said that with 2.1 million Australians experiencing financial hardship back in 2018 before the devastation caused by the drought, bushfires, floods and COVID-19, easily accessible tax advice was more important than ever.
“This number is likely much higher now with the ever-increasing shocks to our economy, so helping people in financial hardship is all the more important,” Dr Kayis-Kumar said.
“Tax clinics present a unique opportunity for the tax profession to engage in grassroots, skills-based volunteering.
“We’re proud of our new alliances with PwC Australia and KPMG Australia, and grateful for their generous support.
“For many who walk through UNSW Tax Clinic’s doors, seeking tax advice and support to complete their tax returns is often a stepping stone to financial independence.”