Tax Summit needs to include GST or it will fail

GST is a hot topic of late, with Gerry Harvey and the Fair Imports Alliance arguing for it to be applied to all online imports under $1,000 as well as the National Retailers Alliance’s small business members joining the campaign.

TaxThe Taxation Institute of Australia says it is disappointed with Prime Minister Julia Gillard’s reported comments that examining the rate of GST won’t be on the Summit agenda and likened excluding GST from the forthcoming Tax Summit to conducting a forensic examination of Australia’s Ashes campaign without speaking to the selectors.

“The GST is a $50 billion revenue raiser in the Australian tax system and ring-fencing it from scrutiny simply makes no sense,” said Institute Senior Tax Counsel Robert Jeremenko.

Mr Jeremenko said the Government needs to break tax reform into manageable pieces and put it into the hands of experts long before conducting the Summit proper.

“Given the volume of material to be discussed at the Tax Summit, the Government must establish technical working groups of tax professionals to examine options for specific areas of reform,” Mr Jeremenko said.

“This doesn’t exclude public comment but manages it in a way that balances policy principles with sectoral interests.

“Dealing with all parts of the whole is the only way to approach reforming complicated tax policy areas.”

“The Henry Tax Review was hailed by the Treasurer as ‘a once in a generation opportunity for reform’ but little has occurred since the announcement of the Tax Summit to show the Government is serious about taking up that challenge.

“The Tax Summit is a prime opportunity to discuss reform, such as bringing in the pest exterminator to eradicate a ragtag collection of state taxes that are acting as a brake on business and imposing an intolerable burden on broader economic reform.”

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