The Institute of Public Accountants is mostly pleased with the government’s response to the Productivity Commission’s Business Set-up, Transfer and Closure report, but has pointed to a key area that the government could've made headway for small business.
IPA 'disappointed' with govt's missed tax opportunity
Last week the government issued a response to the final report of the Productivity Commission’s inquiry into Business Set-up, Transfer and Closure, indicating its support for many of the report’s recommendations.
Speaking to Accountants Daily, the IPA’s executive general manager of advocacy and technical, Vicki Stylianou, said the IPA had made a submission to the Productivity Commission during its inquiry in 2015 and was pleased the government had finally issued a response.
Ms Stylianou highlighted three particular recommendations she was pleased to see the government have support for.
The first was recommendation 3.2 that governments should fully and promptly implement the leading practices and recommendations from the commission’s previous reports on business regulation.
“It’s great the government has established SBFEO, we have applauded. Business Grants Hubs also good,” she said. “Need to raise more awareness though and a lot more outreach.”
Second was recommendation 4.1, that the extension of protection against unfair contract terms to small business should be reviewed within five years.
“The unfair contract terms is great, we inputted a lot to this. It is now a matter of enforcement, which will be a major undertaking,” Ms Stylianou said.
The third was recommendation 10.1 regarding the issue that the creation of entrepreneurial ecosystems cannot be driven by governments.
“We support open data and government needs to lead and make available a lot more data to private sector to use for ‘public purpose’ like academic research,” Ms Stylianou said.
However, on the other hand, Ms Stylianou was disappointed the government didn’t indicate support for recommendation 3.1 that there should be a consistent approach to the taxation of business entities regardless of their ownership, structure and size.
“Disappointed that the government won’t move on creating simpler structures for small business,” she said. “IPA has long advocated for this, so [we] don’t need multiple structures to achieve all available benefits.”
When the IPA made its submission to the Productivity Commission during its inquiry, it advocated for several key things, including the need to formulate regulation and policies based on small businesses first rather than big businesses.
“When regulation is formulated, it should be on the basis of its suitability for small business,” Ms Stylianou said.
“Instead of coming up with regulation suited to big business and then just scaling it down to small business, which is the way Australia tends to do it, we think it would be more suitable to do it the other way around.”
They also advocated for better access to finance and risk adjusted lending, as well as better education and training for business people.