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Review of FBT compliance costs

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REVIEW OF FBT COMPLIANCE COSTS I announced in the Budget that the Government would be undertaking a review of fringe benefits tax compliance costs in the light of concerns expressed by employers. The aim of the review will be to minimise compliance costs whilst protecting the tax base and the overall equity of the tax system.

The Government is very willing to work with business in considering possible changes to the administration of the tax which will reduce compliance costs.

My colleague, George Gear, the Assistant Treasurer will be consulting with business groups and employers generally to obtain their views on possible changes. He will be writing to major groups shortly seeking their response, but other people should also feel free to make submissions to him.

We would hope to be in a position to announce the results of the review by the end of July 1994 and so we are looking to receive submissions on or before 17 June 1994. I encourage all interested parties to participate in this review in a constructive manner.

It is important to bear in mind that the FBT plays a very important role in protecting the equity and efficiency of our tax system.

This was the rationale behind the introduction of the FBT in 1986. It was intended to ensure that all forms of remuneration were taxed on a consistent basis, subject to any constraints of administrative feasibility. The FBT has been extremely successful in achieving that broad objective.

However, the Government remains concerned to minimise compliance costs as fax as possible across the tax system.

The recently completed Streamlined Sales Tax project was directed at reducing compliance costs in that area. My predecessor announced the establishment of the Tax Law Improvement project on 17 December 1993, directed principally at income tax. The Commissioner of Taxation has a Taxation Liaison Group and a Small Business Working Group to provide ongoing input from the community into tax administration. As a result of discussions with the small business group, the Commissioner will be conducting a joint exercise with the Pharmacy Guild and the National Farmers Federation to examine possible rationalising of record keeping requirements for small business.

The review of FBT compliance costs is a further step in this direction.

ADELAIDE 13 May 1994