The latest MYOB SME Snapshot survey, released today, has indicated that a slim majority of small business operators are against an increase in the GST, with many fearing customers would spend less as a result.
According to the monthly survey of over 500 SMEs, 52 per cent were against the current public debate around increasing the GST rate to 15 per cent.
More than a third of respondents (35 per cent) said they were concerned about the ramifications it would have on consumers’ spending levels.
“Reforming GST would have provided the opportunity to make GST much simpler for small businesses – the productivity benefits could have been massive. With the prime minister now taking a GST change off the cards, we’d encourage the government to now take some simple steps to reduce the GST compliance burden on small business,” MYOB CEO Tim Reed said.
“In an environment that’s all about boosting productivity and innovation, reducing the $13.7 billion that SMEs spend complying with GST and giving them back the 84 hours a year that SMEs spend on average collecting tax for the Australian government will free them up to grow their businesses and be more successful.”
Instead, the survey suggested that business owners would much prefer the government focus its efforts on simplifying the Fair Work Act. Mr Reed said the current 122 federal awards mean the act is unnecessarily complex.
“SME operators want to do the right thing by their people, but keeping track of all the details across multiple awards can be tough. From speaking to our clients, we know it can be a real barrier to hiring new staff,” he said.
“SMEs want to do the right thing but are worried about getting it wrong under a complex system. We’re all for government moving ahead on a simpler Fair Work Act, and it’s great to see this on the agenda of new Small Business Ombudsman, Kate Carnell.”