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‘Why do you hate the taxman?’ Asks Adrian Raftery

‘Why do you hate the taxman?’ Asks Adrian RafteryAfter talking to so many business people over the years, it is rather interesting that they all seem to have the one thing in common – they all hate the taxman.
But why do you hate the taxman?

After all, the ATO does not set the taxation rules, they simply administer them. It is the Government of the day which sets the taxation rules. On one fateful night back in September 1985, it was Paul Keating who created Fringe Benefits Tax and Capital Gains, not the taxman. It was the Howard government which introduced GST.  It is not up to the ATO to abolish or remove tax legislation, but simply apply the law that is in front of them. The taxman is really no different to a policeman.

Should we get upset with the lovely police officer who issues us with a speeding ticket or thank him for save our lives by ensuring safer driving on our roads?

Shouldn’t we be getting more upset with all those cash businesses that don’t pay their fair share of tax? Or any tax at all?

Hands up if you know of a business that has a “cash price” that is invariably cheaper than their original price. Keep your hand up if you have dobbed that business into the taxman? I can’t see that many hands up… why not? Perhaps it has to do with the Australian way of not dobbing on your mate… but are they really your mate if their dodgy actions mean that you are paying more tax as a result?

I love it when the taxman pounces on a dodgy character who tries to avoid paying tax.
It is the Federal Treasurer each year, in his budget speech, that sets the tax rates for the following years. Not the taxman. I am sure that if the taxman could set them himself he would reduce them to try and get a higher approval rating. He may even get a few more tickets sold to his ball each year.

If it wasn’t for the taxman’s efforts over the last few decades in clamping down on the wrong doers who have tried to avoid tax, then we would all be paying a lot higher tax.

Did you know that when the taxman makes announcements in June of each tax year in targeting certain industries, that the average tax deductions claim falls by 23 percent? That is a lot of cash flow savings simply by sending out a press release. Does your business have such a success rate with your cash flow when you send out a press release?

When I first started working in tax 20 years ago, I must admit that I was spooked by the taxman. I seemed to spend half the day on the phone listening to the ATO’s on-hold music and when I finally got through to someone, I would invariably get someone with absolutely no comprehension of the English language and would seem to be keen on simply throwing the book at anyone for getting it wrong.  However in 2008, the phone calls are answered significantly quicker and the person at the other end seems a lot more friendly and approachable. The internet has made it easier for accountants and business owners to access information from the ATO via its portal. Arranging a payment plan for tax is a lot easier too.

Yet the public still hates the taxman and blames him for sending them bankrupt rather than look at their own inadequacy to budget and plan their cash flow for tax payments. If you make the profit then you should expect to have to pay tax. By spending all your cash on personal lavishing as nice cars and travel rather than tax is simply poor management.

I hate paying tax and agree that everyone should legitimately try to legally reduce their tax obligations with smart tax planning. But I don’t hate the taxman.
So why do you hate the taxman?

What do you think?

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Adrian Raftery

Adrian Raftery

Adrian Raftery has over 20 years experience with small businesses and individuals as an award winning Chartered Accountant & Certified Financial Planner. He is managing director of ARW Chartered Accountants and CEO of accountantsRus and is fast becoming one of Australia’s leading commentators on all matters relating to finance, tax and superannuation. This blog is designed to provide helpful advice to business owners about how to manage their finances and get their tax right.

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