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You may change the tax rules, but we will still find the loopholes

Aaahh … Federal Budget week.  It always brings so much joy to accountants throughout Australia.  Why?  Because you matter who is in Government and no matter how long they have been in power, they always feel that there is a need to tinker with the tax rules.

FBT, CGT, GST, Simple Super, Simplified Tax System, Consolidation, Personal Services Income, Investment Allowances, Senior Australians Tax Offsets, highest marginal rates, rebates … the list seems to go on and on.

And when they tinker with the tax rules, there is always one common denominator and that is that these changes always bring more work to accountants around Australia.

Legislation changes also seem to provide an opportunity for the “boring number crunchers” to show their “creative flair” to try and create a loophole to get around the tax change.  Every year the Government changes the tax system and every year there is a new strategy that comes into play to combat.  Make no mistake, the rich – or rather their accountants’ – will always find a way to pay as little tax as possible.

Even the $900 stimulus payment has strategies like co-contributing into super to make it worth $2,250.  Something simple as a handout has a loophole to make it more attractive and against the grain of its original purpose.

I am seeing a number of accountants about town with a bit of a smirk this week.  This is because they have heard all the whispers and leaks of dramatic changes in next Tuesday’s budget by Mr Swan.  Changes to marginal tax rates, super surcharges, stopping of imputation credits, and the like.  I am not really sure if it will make a lot of difference at the end of the day.

The real winner?  Not the Government.  Not the poor.  Not even the rich.  But the accountants’ bank account of course because they get to charge more and more fees as the rich still find a way to pay the same amount as before.

Why does the Government still persist in changing the laws all the time?  I don’t know but I reckon they will lose some voters next Tuesday night.

If you want to see accountants cry foul at the budget … and I mean really cry foul and not pretend that they do … make tax returns no longer compulsory and give taxpayers a cheque automatically from the Government based on an estimate of their income and expenses.  A budget that takes business away from accountants … I’d like to see that!

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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