Ten clinics will be set up in major and regional universities, and will run adjacent to the ATO’s existing support services direct to taxpayers.
“We’re hoping the trial tax clinics will fill a gap in the market for those individuals and small businesses that may not be able to afford proper advice and representation,” said Treasurer Josh Frydenberg in an address this week.
Other similar moves from the federal government, like pop-up stands in shopping centres to provide tax support, have had tax agents concerned about a potential competitive threat.
However, this latest move is being welcomed by associations like Chartered Accountants Australia and New Zealand.
“The power imbalance between the resources of the Australian Taxation Office and micro businesses to deal with complex tax law is clearly in the sights of both major political parties,” said CA ANZ tax leader Michael Croker.
“This segment of the taxpayer community has traditionally been difficult for tax agents to provide services to due to micro-business’ sensitivity to cash flow and the myriad of regulation that they need to be across,” he said.
“Chartered Accountants ANZ welcomes these initiatives and the opportunity for accounting firms to assist the community whilst also contributing to the training of the next generation of accountants,” he said.