Date posted: 25/01/2024

CA ANZ calls for substantive tax reform and roadmap to achieve it

Peak accounting body Chartered Accountants Australia and New Zealand (CA ANZ) has used its pre-budget submission to call for substantive tax reform and for government to unveil a roadmap to achieve it.

“It’s time for a wider discussion about Australia’s heavy reliance on personal income tax collections,” said Simon Grant, Chartered Accountants ANZ Group Executive Advocacy.

“The Federal Government has gained a lot of revenue from Australian taxpayers over many years because of ‘bracket creep’ as Australia does not index income tax thresholds for the impact of inflation.

“It is often overlooked that Australia’s top personal tax rate has long been considered high by international standards and applies from a comparatively low income. Policymakers need to keep an eye on the international competitiveness of our personal tax system.

“Broadening the Goods and Services Tax base and rate is required to relieve strain on the income tax system. In addition, the equity of the tax system, especially intergenerational equity, needs to be considered to help support the costs of an ageing population.

“There have already been numerous reviews of Australia’s tax system. The Federal Government should announce a roadmap of how Australia will achieve tax reform. This needs to be the focus of tax discussions going forward.”

CA ANZ also remains opposed to the government’s Better Targeted Superannuation Tax Concession policy that will see those with more than $3 million in total superannuation assets face an additional 15% tax, as the policy seeks to solve a problem that will correct itself over the next 10 years.

“We have many concerns with this policy, including the lack of indexation of the $3 million cap, the taxation of unrealised capital gains and the carried forward allowance of capital losses,” said Mr Grant.

“We believe this tax will be expensive for individuals, superannuation funds, tax agents, financial advisers and for the ATO to administer, and will raise little net revenue when all these costs are considered.”

The CA ANZ pre-budget submission also outlines productivity improvements, red tape reduction and small business support measures the Federal Government should consider.

‘Improving productivity can result in increased incomes which will help with the cost of living. Productivity gains could be achieved through streamlining regulation and improving transparency.’

‘For example, aligning regulatory reporting systems for the tax system could dramatically reduce business red tape whilst increasing system integrity.’

‘Having a skilled and educated workforce also assists productivity. The budget should extend the 120% training boost and reform higher education funding and financing,’ said Mr Grant.

The CA ANZ pre–Budget Submission also calls on the Federal Government to:

  • Support small business by keeping the instant asset write off scheme.
  • Assist the just and orderly transition to net zero through sustainability reporting by developing an overarching sustainability reporting framework.
  • Build and implement a modern Company Register which links a Director’s ID to their relevant companies.
  • Plan for the ageing population and replace the annual superannuation caps with lifetime caps.
  • Improve productivity through education by targeting investments in digital, AI, sustainability, accounting, and financial capability.
  • Improve financial literacy through the introduction of a national senior secondary accounting curriculum.

“As always, CA ANZ looks forward to working with the Federal Government to deliver a Budget that delivers the economic blueprint the country requires,” said Mr Grant.