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Small business entity tax concessions : through the eyes of the practitioner

Marsden, Stephen J., Sadiq, Kerrie, & Wilkins, Timothy (2012) Small business entity tax concessions : through the eyes of the practitioner. In Queensland Tax Researchers Symposium : Tax Reform - The One Certainty, Taxation Institute of Australia, Cairns, Queensland.

Abstract

The often competing imperatives of equity, simplicity and efficiency in the income tax regime, particularly the notion of simplicity, has been most evident within Australia’s small business sector over the last decade. In an attempt to provide tax simplification and reduce the tax compliance burden faced by Australian small businesses, provisions collectively referred to as the ‘simplified tax system’ or STS were introduced. The STS was designed to provide eligible small businesses with the option of adopting a range of ‘simplified’ tax measures designed to simplify their tax affairs whilst at the same time, reducing their tax compliance costs. Ultimately, a low take-up rate and accompanying criticisms led to a remodelled and rebadged concessionary regime known as the ‘Small Business Entity’ (SBE) regime which came into effect from 1 July 2007.

This paper, through a pilot study, investigates the SBE regime though the eyes of the practitioner. In line the Australian Federal Government’s objective of simplification and reduced compliance costs, the purpose of the study was to (1) determine the extent to which the SBE concessions are being adopted by tax practitioners on behalf of their clients, (2) gain an understanding as to which individual SBE tax concessions are most favoured by practitioners, (3) determine the primary motivation as to why tax practitioners recommend particular SBE concessions to their clients, and (4) canvass the opinions of practitioners as to whether they believed that the introduction of the SBE concessions had met their stated objective of reducing tax compliance costs for small businesses.

The findings of this research indicate that, while there is a perception that the SBE concessions are worth embracing, contrary to the policy intent, the reasons behind adopting the concessions was the opportunity to minimise a clients’ tax liability. It was revealed that adopting particular concessions had nothing to do with compliance costs savings and, in fact, the SBE concessions merely added another layer of complexity to an already cumbersome and complex tax code, which resulted in increased compliance costs for their small businesses clients. Further, the SBE concessions allowed tax practitioners the opportunity to engage in effective tax minimisation, thereby fulfilling the client advocacy role of the tax practitioner in maximising their clients’ tax preferences.

Impact and interest:

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ID Code: 53051
Item Type: Conference Paper
Keywords: small business, tax concessions
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > COMMERCE MANAGEMENT TOURISM AND SERVICES (150000) > ACCOUNTING AUDITING AND ACCOUNTABILITY (150100)
Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > COMMERCE MANAGEMENT TOURISM AND SERVICES (150000) > ACCOUNTING AUDITING AND ACCOUNTABILITY (150100) > Taxation Accounting (150107)
Divisions: Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > QUT Business School
Current > Schools > School of Accountancy
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2012 Please consult the authors.
Deposited On: 16 Aug 2012 18:02
Last Modified: 16 Dec 2012 04:18

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