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Government must cut compliance costs: William Buck

Six months after being elected on a platform of helping SMEs, the Abbott government has not done enough to cut compliance costs, according to William Buck.

News Michael Masterman 27 May 2014
— 1 minute read

The firm’s chairman, Nick Hatzistergos, has called on the government to accelerate tax and regulatory reform saying that despite making it clear during last year's election that it would target regulation and red tape, the Abbott government has taken little action of any significance to cut compliance costs.

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“So far most of their reforms have been minor," he said. "They are picking the low hanging fruit and cutting insignificant regulations which most people don't know even exist.”

Mr Hatzistergos said more than 75 per cent of William Buck’s professional time is currently spent advising on regulatory compliance and tax issues – not on business strategy, planning and innovation.

"As business advisers, we don't want to spend our time assisting and advising clients on filling out forms; we want to help our clients become more dynamic and competitive," he said.

The current regulatory environment is making it too hard for small and medium sized businesses to operate efficiently and profitably, according Mr Hatzistergos.

"These businesses are the engine room of the Australian economy, they are the ones we are looking at to generate new industries and jobs. They are happy to comply with the rules, but they are being penalised by extraordinary levels of red tape and regulation," he said.

A good start by the government would be to put the review of the GST back on the national agenda, according to Mr Hatzistergos.

"It is 14 years since the GST was introduced with a promise of doing away with all of the other taxes on business – payroll tax, land tax, stamp duty and so on. Yet here we are in 2014 and those taxes are still making it hard for businesses to grow,” he said.

"We support a broad-based taxation environment which is efficient and equitable and is only paid if you can afford it – when you buy something. In saying this, we also support that low income earners should not be disadvantaged," said Mr Hatzistergos.

Government must cut compliance costs: William Buck
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