Earlier this year, the IGoT launched an inquiry into the tax profession in June, looking at aspects of the current system that should be retained or evolved. In light of the ATO’s digital outages in particular, associations and industry stakeholders alike want the IGoT to have better tools for dealing with the regulator.
“The IGoT must also be given sharper teeth to hold the ATO accountable and push through genuine administrative reforms to rebalance the power between the ATO and SMEs and individuals,” said BDO corporate tax partner, Carlo Moretti.
Off the back of client surveying, BDO is also arguing for broad and substantial tax reform, in line with persistent calls from industry leaders for meaningful change to Australia’s tax system.
“Our BDO survey found that almost 83 per cent believe the government should introduce a broad tax reform process that covers both federal and state taxes and not just tinker around the edges,” Mr Moretti said.
“Sixty-one per cent of respondents also said state governments should abolish stamp duties and other inefficient taxes. This aligns with the Productivity Commission recommendation to replace stamp duties on property transfers — which are a disincentive for relocating — with a broadly-based tax based on land values to ensure revenue is raised efficiently, as well as increase housing affordability and boost transactions.
“This should be enabled through an increase or broadening of the GST but the Productivity Commission report doesn’t even refer to reform of GST – which is a missed opportunity.
“There is a need to greater educate the public about the process of tax reform, as has successfully been the case in New Zealand which has used public consultation to successfully increase their GST to 15 per cent in recent years.
“Raising GST is not the only issue — how GST is spent needs to be looked at because a significant problem with the Australian tax system is the imbalance between the state and federal governments’ collection and spending of tax revenue.
“The federal government collects the majority of tax but it’s the state governments that spend most of the funds.”