In response to recent calls from EY for an apolitical tax reform commission, AccountantsDaily surveyed the industry and found an overwhelming 77 per cent of the 117 accountants who responded supporting the idea.
However, Paul Drum, head of policy at CPA Australia described that result as surprising, saying tax reform should be left to elected officials.
“I don’t want some bureaucrat making a decision about what the new tax rate or new tax base will be.”
“That would be totally inappropriate – it's [the] stuff of nonsense,” he said.
Mr Drum put the survey result down to a one-eyed view of the situation, saying respondents may have ignored economic and social factors in their desire for faster tax reform.
“If you ask a certain type of person a certain question they might only look at it through the prism of tax rates and bases and not the economic or social equations.”
“There are a whole lot of economic and social issues that have to be factored into tax reform.”
Mr Drum said he believes the current government is willing to move on tax reform without an independent commission and he expects the next election to be fought on the issue.
“Tax reform will only happen if it’s led by the Commonwealth. The Commonwealth must take the lead on it and we expect that they will,” he said.
To implement reform successfully, the government will have to sell a whole package, Mr Drum said.
“That’s what the Howard-Costello government did so successfully last time, they sold a package, they went to an election on eliminating a raft of inefficient taxes and broken taxes, like sales tax … and they gave people compensation by way of income tax cuts, by increases in their welfare payments and even one of payments for self-funded retirees,” Mr Drum said.