Government taskforce makes raft of tax, ABN proposals

The Black Economy Taskforce has released a consultation paper of potential policy ideas, which include amending payroll tax processes and overhauling the ABN model.

Today, the Black Economy Taskforce, which was established by the government last year in a bid to crackdown on taxpayers who intentionally misreport their tax and superannuation obligations, released a consultation paper detailing 54 policy ideas.

One of the policy ideas is to consider an alternative to the taxable payment reporting system (TPRS).

The suggestion is instead of having firms report payments to contractors when filling out payroll tax returns, they provide that information to the ATO.

While acknowledging that states define contractors for payroll tax purposes in different ways and that not all contractor payments are subject to payroll tax, the taskforce suggests that the reporting might nevertheless have some value.

Another potential idea put forward in the paper is to pay greater attention to sanctioning unethical agents and the role that the Tax Practitioners’ Board should be playing in this.

“We welcome suggestions how best this can be done, including legislative and other factors which may need to be addressed (for example, increasing the onus of proof on agents suspected of acting illegally or unethically),” the paper reads.

“There may be a role for a public campaign in support of these measures. The message to the professional accounting bodies would be that it is no longer acceptable for tax accountants to cast a blind eye on their clients’ tax affairs or help them break the law.”

A third notable proposal is to reform the Australian Business Number model.

The taskforce has found that ABNs are not valued by holders, and suggests that the ABN should be renamed the Australian Business Licence (ABL), whereby holders must first obtain a provisional licence before having to complete a business literacy test to convert to a full licence.

The Black Economy Taskforce is welcoming submissions to the consultation paper until 14 August, and will use feedback on both the consultation paper and the interim report when preparing its final report, which is due in October this year.

For the full list of policy ideas put forward by the Black Economy Taskforce, click here.

 

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