The Australian government is in the process of implementing a substantial tax reform agenda to strengthen and broaden the country’s economy, and maximize the opportunities of the mining boom by cutting small business taxes and building more regional infrastructure.
As part of this agenda a Tax Forum is planned for October where around 150 representatives of community groups, businesses, unions, and governments, as well as academics and tax practitioners, will be invited to Canberra to discuss tax reform proposals.
‘The forum will continue the decade long conversation we started with the release of Australia’s Future Tax System (AFTS) Review last year. It will focus on the broad sweep of topics in the Review, with sessions to discuss personal tax, transfer payments, business tax, state taxes, environmental and social taxes, and system governance,’ said treasurer Wayne Swan.
‘We look forward to engaging with the community and hearing what the representatives of millions of Australians have to say about building on our ambitious tax reform agenda. We will also explore ways for participants and the general public to make submissions and comments, which can be uploaded onto a dedicated website, prior to the Tax Forum,’ he added.
In response to the AFTS Review, the government last year announced a comprehensive plan to get a fairer return for the nation’s non-renewable resources and promote growth across the economy. The government also announced measures to simplify tax for small business and individual taxpayers, and reward savings outside of superannuation through a tax discount on interest income.
‘These are significant reforms, but in the years ahead Australia will continue to face important decisions to ensure our tax system shares prosperity fairly and maximizes the opportunities that will flow from the growth of our neighbouring economies in this, the Asian Century. We are particularly focused on the need to better reward the hard work of Australians who participate in our workforce and help make our economy such a standout performer,’ explained Swan.
The Tax Forum will help identify those reforms that have broad agreement across the community, and will also provide insight into the competing priorities that must be weighed against one another in a fiscally constrained environment.
Swan added that the government has made it clear that there are parts of the AFTS Review it won’t be implementing, and that goods and services tax will not be increased, however his department will still expect and welcome a broad and constructive discussion.
The Tax Forum will be followed by a debate in Parliament to give all Members of Parliament and Senators the chance to have their say on these significant issues for Australia’s future prosperity.
Originally promised for June the renegotiated date means key details of the government ‘s proposed mining tax and carbon tax will already be finalized before the tax forum convenes.