Surplus Should Prompt International Tax Rethink

The greater-than-expected Budget surplus removed all limitations for federal Parliament in passing legislation which will reform Australia’s international tax regime, the Business Council of Australia said today.

BCA Chief Executive, Ms Katie Lahey said the international tax package, announced by the government earlier this year, will provide Australia with a more competitive tax system.

“An efficient and equitable tax system will attract more investment and skilled labour will be a key component in ensuring Australia’s economy to grow in the future,” Ms Lahey said.

“These reforms will benefit Australian-based companies and also skilled individuals who might otherwise be discouraged from working in Australia because of its current tax arrangements.”

Ms Lahey said the significant boost in the government’s surplus should provide an opportunity for those who may have considered opposing the tax reform package for revenue reasons to reconsider their position.

“Australia is operating as an increasingly globalised economy,” she said.

“To compete effectively and secure future growth, Australia needs tax arrangements that facilitate the flow of global investment to Australia and assists Australian business to expand into international markets.

“Australia’s international tax laws are widely recognised as too complex, and generally uncompetitive with tax laws in other countries.

Ms Lahey said the package announced earlier in the year included a number of reforms with moderate cost.

“This is not about tax breaks for big business. These reforms emphasise removing the unnecessary complexity which hurts any business with an international focus, regardless of whether it is small or large.

“The BCA and business hopes that the additional revenue now available to the government will prompt a rethink by those who acknowledge the importance of the changes but oppose part or all of the Board of Taxation-recommended package on cost grounds.”