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Budget misses an opportunity to reform complex tax system
15 May 2024 | Minutes to read: 2

Budget misses an opportunity to reform complex tax system

By William Buck

William Buck welcomes this year’s Federal Budget measures aimed at supporting Australian businesses but believes the Government has missed a significant opportunity to simplify our complex tax system.

Todd Want, Head of Tax Services at William Buck, leading accounting and advisory firm to the middle-market, said the electricity rebate, further funding of the ATO’s compliance and taskforce program and extension of the instant asset write-off will help Australian businesses.

However, the Government had the opportunity to implement significant tax reform which would have helped all Australians.

“While we commend the government’s support for small businesses and further funding of the ATO’s compliance programs, we can’t help but feel this budget represents a missed opportunity for genuine tax reform.

“The core elements of this budget seem to assist the existing tax framework rather than strive for the comprehensive overhaul that will benefit Australians in the long term,” said Mr Want, who also serves as President of the Tax Institute.

Small businesses were certainly not losers in this year’s Budget, with eligible businesses given a $325 power bill rebate, an extension of the $20,000 instant asset write-off announced for businesses with an aggregated turnover of under $10 million, more fee-free TAFE and VET places for construction workers and a $1.7 billion innovation fund that will likely benefit SMEs.

However, Mr Want said that while these initiatives will help businesses in the short term, more is needed to help them into the future.

“The extension of the instant asset write-off, while beneficial, is just a short-term fix. We urge the government to consider the lasting impact of making such policies permanent and fostering an environment where businesses can plan and grow with confidence. Simply rolling over the same measure as last year isn’t enough.

“Taxes such as the Fringe Benefits Tax (FBT), which is disproportionately expensive to comply with relative to the revenue it collects, need to be meaningfully looked at and modernised. Sadly, this Budget considered none of those issues,” added Mr Want.

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