A recent industry poll conducted by AccountantsDaily revealed 57.4 per cent of the 244 accountants surveyed believe the GST will increase to 15 per cent within the next two years.
This follows the results of an earlier poll in which 62.5 per cent of respondents believed the GST was in need of an overhaul.
Deloitte has issued a report in which it aims to address the GST, which the firm refers to as the “third rail” of Australian politics – “touch it, and you get electrocuted”, the report said.
The paper, Shedding light on the debate: Mythbusting tax reform, aims to “shed light on many of the myths and misconceptions that have grown around tax reform and tax policy”, according to Cindy Hook, CEO, Deloitte Australia.
“Australia owes itself a mature debate. Let’s not delay acting on the imperatives of tax reform; we know that the task will get harder if left till later,” Ms Hook warned.
The report also criticised the lack of action in continuous reform of what it currently describes as “a good tax”.
“Few politicians have the courage to mount a case for taking a good tax and making it even better,” Deloitte added.
Two options for GST reform are put forward in the report: an increase in the rate to 15 per cent and a broadening of the base to include digital products and services and low-value imports, or a rate increase to 12.5 per cent and a broadening of the base to include fresh food, imported digital products and services and low-value imports.
Increasing rates of support payments to families and cutting taxes paid by low-income earners would alleviate the strain of reform, Deloitte added.
“We can raise pensions and benefits and tweak the personal tax system to keep the less well-off no worse off than they are now, and we can ensure in the same way that these families would be no worse off if fresh food was added to the GST base,” Deloitte said.
The paper concluded by noting that “the myth that GST reform is necessarily unfair is simply untrue – it’s a furphy. Worse still, that myth risks derailing reform by pretending it’s all too hard”.