31st March, 2014

Small business tax review set to help builders

A small business tax review could help construction professionals overcome cumbersome red tape regulations, according to Master Builders Australia (MBA).

The federal government has asked the Board of Taxation to explore current features of the tax system and see if changes can be made to help small businesses achieve their commercial goals.

Wilhelm Harnisch, CEO of MBA, said his organisation welcomed the announcement, claiming it could have a positive impact on contractors.

"The building and construction industry is one of Australia's most intensely regulated industries," he explained. "Feedback from our members shows that tax compliance is one of the key burdens identified by the building and construction industry."

He argued that unnecessary bureaucracy punishes the many legitimate contractors who are doing their jobs properly in order to identify a small number of firms that break the law. One example is the requirement of contractors to report every transaction they have with other contractors to the Australian Tax Office.

"With the building recovery gaining strength and residential construction helping to drive non-mining investment, now is the time to ensure that business interaction with the tax system is simpler and less onerous to assist them to grow and employ more people," Mr Harnisch stated.

According to small business minister Bruce Billson, changes to the law may be required to unshackle companies from time-consuming day-to-day processes and the mountains of paperwork that are currently hindering growth. He said the government was keen to make Australia one of the best places to start and expand a business in the world. 

Building companies should always keep abreast of the latest developments in industry legislation particularly given the litigious nature of commercial construction. Businesses also need to have a comprehensive construction insurance in place tailored to their specific requirements should they face a claim.

Author: Murray Bruce