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Time to dump the ATO war on small business

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THE HON BRUCE BILLSON MP Shadow Minister for Small Business, Competition Policy and Consumer Affairs Federal Member for Dunkley

Media Contact: Kane Silom 0458 550 506


Thursday 10 January 2013

Time to dump the ATO war on small business

The Gillard Government should have dropped its war on small business the day it dumped its promise of returning the budget to surplus, according to the Coalition.

Shadow Small Business Minister Bruce Billson said given the Government was no longer chasing every last cent of revenue, it should direct the ATO to urgently re-establish a collaborative relationship with the small business sector.

“In the Labor Government’s dash for cash to prop up its hollow claims of a budget surplus, the ATO should have maintained its historic collaborative posture in dealing with small business rather than its more recent combative approach,” Mr Billson said.

“Small business has paid a high price for Labor’s mismanagement, promising a surplus it could never deliver and then being the soft target for excessive tax demands and the unnecessary winding up of otherwise viable small businesses.”

Mr Billson said a recent Tax Inspector General’s report found that more than 5,800 small businesses targeted by the ATO were forced into simply paying default tax assessments because they couldn’t afford to fight or correct the ATO’s false assertions.

“The Inspector General’s concerns, the field evidence from tax professionals and the observations of insolvency practitioners all point to a worrying trend of ATO aggression targeting an already struggling engine room of the economy,” Mr Billson said.

“Small business needs a break given it’s had to deal with the broken promise of the carbon tax, a broken promise of not delivering a cut to company tax and now a concerted campaign, backed by an extra $390 million in funding, for the ATO to go after small businesses.”

Mr Billson said the Coalition has a clear road map to double the rate of small business growth by abolishing the carbon tax, cutting $1 billion worth of red-tape and making sure small business is represented on key economic regulatory bodies.