October 2011 Tax Forum

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The proposed tax forum which was to take place before June 30 is now scheduled for October 4 and 5. But it seems what was originally meant to be an opportunity for small business to have a voice in tax reform is actually turning into a tax seminar controlled by the Treasurer with topics ruled out for discussion and some sectors not being represented at all.

Despite telling small business they have a “special place” in his heart and they offer some of the “best, most grounded information” he gets about economic conditions, the SME sector will be represented by just one invited body – COSBOA. Whilst this is great news, sectors like retail (which employs more people than any other industry), hospitality, food and grocery, mining, banking, transport, and family enterprises have been left off the invite list – even though proposals to be discussed at the forum will have an impact on these sectors.

Shadow Small Business Minister Bruce Billson has indicated one SME representative isn’t enough and believes it highlights the government’s indifference to the small business sector – one described by the Treasurer and Senator Nick Sherry at the National Small Business Summit recently as “the engine room of the economy” and “the backbone of Australia”.

“In Wayne’s world, the small business community that supports the livelihood of nearly half the workforce warrants just one small business-specific voice at the tax event that has shrunk from a summit to a seminar, while just 18% of the workforce that is unionised warrants 13 union representatives,” Billson says.

Small business can still have a say – Peter Strong, Executive Director of the Council of Small Business of Australia indicated they will be setting up a website and he encourages all small business owners to go to the site and submit items of concern for discussion at the summit. COSBOA can then take these issues to the summit and ensure that all small business across the country can have their issues addressed. Keep an eye on the COSBOA website for details.

© Lyn Prowse-Bishop – www.execstress.com

Resources:

Smart Company: COSBOA to use its tax forum invitation to push for less red tape

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