The federal opposition plans to cap the deductibility of accountants’ fees, a move tipped to hurt the business community, and its leader has copped major backlash for it this week.
The Labor Party, if elected, plans to introduce a $3,000 cap on the tax deductibility of fees from accountants.
On Friday last week, Opposition Leader Bill Shorten labelled the deduction a “rort” which favours the wealthy.
The backlash from the accounting and SME community since has been significant.
The Labor Party’s claims that the current deduction set-up for tax agent fees is a “sweet deal” for the wealthy doesn’t stack up, said chief executive of the Institute of Public Accountants Andrew Conway.
“By every measure, accountants are the trusted adviser to the SME community,” he said.
“People go to a tax agent for very normal life situations — divorce, financial distress, investment. This impacts the SME community and mum and dad taxpayers,” Mr Conway said.
Others, like accounting software giant BGL’s Ron Lesh, said that the comments from Mr Shorten are out of touch with the role accountants play in the SME community.
“As a chartered accountant, I am personally insulted by Mr Shorten’s comments,” Mr Lesh said.
“Survey after survey shows accountants are the most trusted advisers in the community.
“I see thousands of accountants providing their clients with the best advice at a reasonable fee, and that fee is often more than $3,000.”