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Increase GST To 15 Percent, Australian Accountants Say

by Mary Swire,, Hong Kong

20 July 2015

The Australian Government could generate AUD265bn (USD195.7bn) in revenue over four years if it increased the goods and services tax (GST) from ten percent to 15 percent across a broadened base, Chartered Accountants Australia and New Zealand (CA ANZ) have said.

According to CA ANZ modelling, a higher rate and broader base would need to be accompanied by corresponding cuts in personal income taxes and increases to benefits and pensions, to compensate those on low or fixed incomes. After deducting this compensation, the federal Government would be left with AUD94bn over four years.

CA ANZ recommended that of this figure, AUD38bn be allocated for the abolition of inefficient state taxes. The net takings for states and federal government could be AUD56bn over four years, it said.

Rob Ward, Head of Leadership and Advocacy at CA ANZ explained: "We developed the formula to show how a rise in GST, and a sensible approach to other tax treatments, can be both fair and affordable. The level of GST increase and base broadening is up to Government, but our model demonstrates that at 15 percent we can provide appropriate levels of compensation to those who need it and still generate additional revenue."

"We support comments by The Treasurer, Joe Hockey, that we've reached a crucial point and we're ready to move towards the options paper stage. In Australia, 70 percent of federal Government tax revenue is collected from personal and company income taxes. This is a time bomb. With fewer people paying taxes in the future, supporting a higher proportion of retired people, income tax could fail to generate a sufficient flow of funds for the federal Government to maintain the standard of living that we've come to expect in Australia. Tax reform has become a necessity for Australia and will require strong political leadership and cooperation between the federal Government, states, and territories to achieve."

TAGS: tax | pensions | sales tax | goods and services tax (GST) | Australia | tax rates | tax reform | individual income tax | services

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