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What are the new Government’s tax priorities?

taxOne of the first questions business owners ask when a new government enters power is what changes, if any, are coming in the area of tax.

Revenue Minister Stuart Nash provided a good steer on that when he addressed Chartered Accountants Australia and New Zealand last November.

The biggest question, he said, is whether our current system is fit for purpose.

A week later, the government demonstrated its commitment to finding an answer by announcing the tax working group, to be headed by Sir Michael Cullen.

Its brief is wide and includes specific emphasis on GST (but is unlikely to include GST rates) and the overheated housing market (almost certainly by focusing on speculative property buying).

Other issues the Minister highlighted:

  • The future of work, and tax consequences
  • Ensuring company tax is fair and efficient and all companies pay their fair share
  • Our ageing population and increased superannuation and healthcare costs
  • The rapid growth of the sharing economy and its implications for the tax system
  • Disruptive technologies and decentralised methods of operating.

If you’ve ever wondered if you might have a tax refund tucked away at IRD, here’s some good news – a proposal for refunds to be issued automatically.

That’s part of IRD’s ongoing drive to work well with business.

One thing you can expect to see is better communication with tax professionals before policy proposals are developed or implemented.

That should minimise well-meant but fundamentally unworkable policy being introduced.