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Tuesday, 5 May 1987
Page: 2645

Mr CADMAN(10.25) —I wish to draw the attention of the House to some of the serious problems and overload that are placed on Australian business by the plethora of taxation laws put by this Government on small business in Australia. A careful analysis is needed, because it is not often considered by this Parliament to be relevant to look at the precise impost on small business men and women when they are required to comply with taxation law. The taxation commandments, as they have been termed by observers, can be applied on a monthly, quarterly or annual basis. For instance, the monthly requirements indicate that on the seventh day of each month businesses have the onerous task of ensuring that group taxation documents are prepared and submitted. On the fourteenth day of each month prescribed tax payments are due. For those in the building industry, such as sub-contractors, it is obligatory to proceed with such payments. On the twenty-first day of each month withholding tax payments are due, as are sales tax payments. Therefore, on a monthly basis four separate tax calculations are necessary for a small business.

On a quarterly basis there are requirements to pay provisional tax under the Government's legislation, and provisional tax has to be paid in equal annual instalments on 1 March, 1 June, 1 September and 1 December. That is another impost on the regular monthly payments. Company taxes if paid in quarterly instalments are eligible for payment on a different day of the month-namely, on 15 August, 15 November and 15 February, with a final instalment with the normal final assessment. That is generally paid before the end of March. Therefore, in respect of company taxation there are different dates on a quarterly basis on different months of the year from the dates for payment of provisional tax. In respect of the fringe benefits tax there is another set of dates again. The quarterly benefits for fringe benefits tax fall due on 28 January, 28 April, which is the final payment, and then, following into the next year, on 28 July and 28 October.

This is a shocking arrangement for a person who is trying to run a business. Businesses have to make separate calculations, often working with the same figures to make the calculations on practically every day of the month. On an annual basis, on 1 July there is a need to collate, reconcile and balance group tax returns and tax sheets for the salaries and wages of employees. The date of 14 July is the last day on which to lodge tax stamp sheets, and that is also the last day to issue group tax certificates to employees. The last day to lodge group certificates and returns with the Australian Taxation Commissioner is 14 August, and 31 August is the last day for lodgment of individual tax returns. This Government, in seeking to lift up its income, has entered into a whole range of tax arrangements which are complicated and crazy. My friend the honourable member for Hawker (Mr Jacobi) has already brought to the attention of the House the problems of paperwork and the need for this Parliament to simplify the paperwork and regulatory processes. On one simple issue alone-taxation-the Government is demanding of small business an unconscionable requirement which small business is finding an onerous burden and one with which it cannot comply. It is little wonder that there is a tax revolt from small business around Australia because it cannot meet, without sophisticated bookkeeping systems, the requirements of the Australian Government. On top of these taxes are State tax requirements. I appeal to the Minister for Science (Mr Barry Jones), who is at the table and who has the great capacity to simplify the most complicated issues, to chat to the Treasurer (Mr Keating) and say: `It is time to straighten out this issue'.

Madam SPEAKER —Order! The honourable member's time has expired.