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Treasurer labels tax reform an 'accountant's picnic'


Treasurer Scott Morrison has addressed the current debate on tax reform, labelling some issues as “an accountant’s picnic”.

By Mitchell Turner 12 minute read

Speaking on ABC Radio, Mr Morrison noted that many people have an incorrect perception regarding the current tax system.

“I think one of the problems we have in the tax debate – I’ve referred to it as a bit of an accountant’s picnic – but what that means is that people think of tax reform as, well, the government wants you to pay more tax.

“What I’m saying is no. What I want is a tax system that rewards people for doing the things that they want do in the economy; businesses to be able to grow and expand and do the things that they want to do, and that’s what the tax system has to support,” Mr Morrison stated.


Mr Morrison stressed that the tax system is “not just there to suck money out of people’s pockets”.

“It’s supposed to do it in a way that grows the economy, not retards the economy,” he said.

“I don’t think there’s a broad understanding about the real opportunities for everyday Australians about what can be achieved for them with changes to the tax system.”

Stressing the importance of getting the system right, Mr Morrison noted that he would not rush into any instance of reform.

Addressing the current lack of action in tax reform, John Brazzale, managing partner at Pitcher Partners, noted that the tax system is characterised by high complexity and compliance costs, and that reform must “play a key role in Australia’s future”.

“Tax reform to date has mistakenly focused on small taxpayers rather than privately-owned groups, which employ more people than all the public companies in Australia put together,” Mr Brazzale stated.

“The complex web of rules and interactions in our tax system currently penalises the middle market with disproportionately high complexity and compliance costs.”

Mr Brazzale concluded by noting that the current complexity is “holding the middle market back and damaging our economy”.

Mitchell Turner


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