COSBOA: changes to tax and skills systems needed

Council of Small Business of Australia (COSBOA) has released its pre-budget submission, which outlines recommendations to grow the Australian economy and support small businesses across the country.

COSBOA’s pre-budget submission focuses on tax, supporting growth and skills development – the key areas it feels need an overhaul to help and grow small businesses.

It is the belief of COSBOA that a flexible and less complex tax system is needed and one that is not geared in favour of big business, which has seen its power and share of the market used to its own advantage.

“We know that the tax system is a major point of debate and rightly so,” COSBOA CEO Peter Strong said. “However, we need to make sure that the debate isn’t hijacked by ideologues to the detriment of mainstream Australia.”

One of COSBOA’s suggestions is that small businesses may ‘opt in’ to a system where they decline all deductions that may apply in exchange for a much lower tax rate.

“This is just one example that’s outlined in the report, which would provide businesses with the opportunity to have a less complex tax return,” Mr Strong said. “This would reduce costs and the administrative burden on the tax system and create less need to maintain records for tax purposes, which are currently a drain on the resources of small business.

“Essentially, the process needs to be simplified, so that small-business owners can focus on running and growing their business and their employees, not unnecessary admin. The outcome would be that the Australian economy will grow and communities will benefit from a range of independent providers.”

The report also focuses on skills development and describes the current vocational education and training (VET) system as being in crisis and not delivering quality service in many sectors.

COSBOA suggests a substantial part of VET and employment services funding be directed through industry associations, which would ensure quality and relevant services and training are be delivered.

“Giving small-business associations greater influence over how that money is spent will create greater outcomes without an increase in expenditure,” Mr Strong said.

“There is money in the budget that can be better spent through small business. We believe the ideologues should be put in a room together, the doors locked, the keys thrown away, and then we can get on with reality.”

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