NRA wants tax debate

tax, GSTThe National Retail Association (NRA) has called for a national debate on tax reform, after the Turnbull Government flagged taking an increase in the GST to the polls.

The Parliamentary Budget Office (PBO) has released a report which found raising the GST to 15 per cent and broadening the tax base would raise $130 billion in 2017-18.

Nationals MP, David Gillespie, asked the PBO to model a New Zealand-style GST and Treasurer, Scott Morrison, said it was a “good contribution” without specifically backing the policy.

Prime Minister, Malcolm Turnbull, said any changes to the tax system would have to be fair.

“Any changes to the tax system have got to be ones that ensure there is no disadvantage to the most vulnerable Australians, to less well-off Australians,” Turnbull told media yesterday.

NRA CEO, Trevor Evans, said the organisation, “would strongly support any reform to reduce the overall tax burden for Australian households, but only if it leaves more money in consumers’ pockets”.

“Any possible increase would need to be offset by the removal or reduction of less efficient taxes such as payroll and income taxes, stamp duties and other government charges,” Evans said.

“Without offsetting measures to assist household budgets, we are very cautious that retailers may feel the upfront sting from any increase in retail prices, particularly given the tight competition and razor-thin margins in some product categories.”

Evans said tax reform was one possible way Australia could boost productivity and economic growth.

“The NRA has been a loud voice for the retail sector on the prospect of future tax reform, so when it comes to possible change to any taxes, including the GST, and their impacts on business profitability, viability and job creation, we will continue to take these concerns to the Federal Government to ensure the continuing viability of Australian retail businesses.”

The NRA has also welcomed Morrison’s indication he was examining important micro-economic reforms, which had been put to the government in April as part of the Harper Review of Australia’s competition laws.

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