Summit Wants Tax System Simplified & Three-Year Moratorium for Start-Ups

The Small Business Association of Australia Summit has agreed that the current Tax System needs significant change, is a complex minefield for Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) and in most cases, a major cause of small businesses failures. The Summit, on the Gold Coast, featured small business owners and representatives from the ATO, Fairwork Australia and Small Business & Family Enterprise Ombudsman, Kate Carnell, AO.

Discussion centered on the over-complication of the tax system and its cost to SMEs in time and money hindering success.

Small businesses creates massive wealth for Australia through tax but has the same tax regulations as large business without the resources, time or knowledge to manage. Anne Nadler, Founder/CEO Small Business Association of Australia, said that now was the time to drive change.

"If small business succeeds, then the economy succeeds, and we need to build a system where people can create their own wealth," she said. “We are falling behind by world standards as to how we are being assisted by government.

"We are incredibly capable however we are struggling through regulation and the high cost to do business.”

Principal of the Forensic Accounting Group, Anthony Cerantonio, said that unless reform occurred, small business in Australia would be badly let down by government.

"We need to be here to give small business owners the right tools and the best advice in order to succeed," he said.

“I feel that it would be a smart idea to propose a three-year tax-free moratorium for all start-up businesses. It won’t cost the ATO a lot as most businesses' first three years have carried forward losses – the ATO will not lose out.” Delegates agreed to propose a tax freeze for start-up small business. They also agreed to unite to campaign for these changes.

An ATO representative said the department understood that the tax system was very difficult to understand, but that they were focused on assisting small businesses and seeing them succeed. Butler Hardy Corporate Managing Director, Lionel Barden, proposed that a plan be formed to take to Treasury to enact real change.

"We must protect small businesses that find this as a real issue," he said.

One proposal was to make the ABN registration process similar to getting a driving licence, where responsibilities and obligations are learned prior to the ABN being issued. Others included a reduction in regulations to give small business more time to focus on their business rather than red tape. Australian Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman, Kate Carnell, said the Ombudsmen’s office was set up to provide support for matters such as ATO issues with small business. Delegates were encouraged to provide submissions in the coming weeks of their proposals for change. These would form the basis of a Tax Pillar in the proposed Small Business Charter. To find out more about Small Business Association of Australian visit

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