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Australians Back GST Reform, Property Council Says

by Mary Swire,, Hong Kong

15 July 2015

72 percent of Australians believe that it is inevitable that the goods and services tax (GST) will rise over the next decade, according to a survey commissioned by the Property Council of Australia.

The results are based on the answers of 1,957 respondents surveyed by Newgate Research in May and June 2015. Two-thirds consider the GST to be fair, and 62 percent agreed that the GST is better than other taxes because it is simple and is less prone to avoidance.

Property Council Chief Executive Ken Morrison said: "Broadening or increasing the rate of GST has long been considered political poison, but that no longer reflects the attitude of the community. Australians clearly understand the need for tax reform and as the research makes clear they want a tax system that is fairer and simpler. Changes to the GST need to be taken out of the too-hard basket."

Participants were also asked about their attitude towards stamp duty. 70 percent of respondents supported the abolition of stamp duty, with 71 percent agreeing that the level of tax on people's homes is too high.

47 percent said stamp duty should be abolished in exchange for the removal of GST exemptions, while 46 percent supported abolishing stamp duty in conjunction with an increase in the GST from 10 percent to 12.5 percent. However, just 30 percent were prepared to support a deal that scrapped stamp duty but hiked the GST to 15 percent.

Morrison commented: "Our research shows that Australians would support an increase in the rate of GST in return for doing away with other unfair, punitive taxes like stamp duty. Governments know stamp duty distorts the economy, hurts housing affordability, and is a roller coaster source of revenue. National tax reform needs to replace our most distortionary taxes with more efficient revenue sources."

TAGS: tax | property tax | goods and services tax (GST) | Australia | tax rates | stamp duty | tax breaks | tax reform | trade association | trade | services

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