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84,287 tax rulings and 1,860 amendments! No wonder small business wants a simpler GST.

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MEDIA RELEASE The Hon Simon Crean MP Deputy Leader of the Opposition and Shadow Treasurer

8 August 2001

84,287 tax rulings and 1,860 amendments! No wonder small business wants a simpler GST

The support of Australia’s leading small business organisation for Labor’s proposals to simplify the GST comes as no surprise following yesterday’s astounding news from the Tax Office that it had issued 84,287 private rulings on the GST in 2000 alone.

Council of Small Business Organisations of Australia chief executive Rob Bastian told AAP small business supported Labor’s proposals for simplifying the new tax system. “I can say with absolute clarity that the members of the association who were in the room were very impressed with the idea because it was simple.”

Mr Bastian rejected claims by Small Business Minister Ian Macfarlane that small business was happy with existing arrangements and did not want Labor's rollback. “I do not believe that. The main concern as reported to me is paperwork itself.”

Mr Bastian’s support is understandable in light of yesterday’s extraordinary revelation from the Tax Office to Labor MPs Julia Gillard and Craig Emerson that the so-called “simplified new tax system” had forced it to issue 84,287 private rulings. And that was just in 2000!

This is in addition to the nearly 2,000 amendments to the GST legislation the government has been forced to make to its “simplified” new tax system.

The GST is so complicated the Liberal Party is having special legislation passed so it can avoid the cash-flow headache created by the GST on electoral funding.

Labor couldn’t agree more with the Liberal Party’s WA director Peter Wells when he told the Canberra Times “why mess around with the GST if you don’t have to”.

Unfortunately for small business the special amendment doesn’t apply to them. Small business, by contrast, has no choice other than to “mess around with the GST”.

A Beazley Labor Government will give small business what it really wants - a simpler and fairer GST, not a hastily cobbled together collection of stolen Labor policies and anti-union rhetoric dressed up as a “small business package” to hide the fact the Howard Government is doing nothing to ease the GST compliance burden.

Further information: Stephen Spencer (02) 6277 4045(w), 0419 695 435