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December 21, 2020

The Treasurer and the Minister for Small and Family Business need to clarify how many eligible small businesses have missed out on key support measures, and what steps the Government will take to help them access support.

A new report by the Inspector General of Taxation revealed the Tax Office received over 9,000 small businesses objections to the way JobKeeper and the Cash Flow Boost were administered.

The IGT makes the startling revelation that if the Tax Office: “does not take action to identify affected taxpayers (and initiate appropriate remedial action)… it will risk the erosion of public confidence in the fair and transparent administration of Australia's tax system.”

The IGT notes the complicated process of the Government’s programs and how small businesses objections – almost one third of which have seen decisions overturned – may result in substantial costs for those small businesses.

Small businesses have continually been left behind by conscious decisions made by this Government.

The report notes concerns by small businesses and the accounting, tax professional and business representative bodies about the cash flow boost, particularly on the GST reporting cycle requirements for new small businesses that:
· Favour large businesses and non-compliant businesses as they would be required to lodge their BAS monthly;
· Disadvantage smaller, compliant businesses who either lodge their BAS quarterly or annually or were not required to lodge a BAS at all; and
· Potentially constitute a discriminatory application of the law.
Whether it is the failed SME Loan Guarantee program, premature cuts to jobkeeper, the exclusions of casual and temporary resident employees from JobKeeper, struggling small businesses not being able to access the JobMaker Hiring Credit, or sole traders and other non-incorporated family businesses excluded from insolvency reforms, it is clear that this Government only turns up for the photo op, not the follow up.