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Tax reform should put everything on the table: PwC

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PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) has released their submission to the Tax Reform White Paper process, calling for a need to hold no “sacred cows or panaceas” when reviewing the country’s tax system.

Tom Seymour, PwC Managing Partner Tax and Legal, said the nation would not see housing become more affordable, or see a rise in job security and a boost in education if major tax reform were not accomplished.

PwC research has found the average income earner earning over $80,000 per year will see a marginal tax rate of 37 per cent from this year on.

“Bracket creep is highly regressive as the increase in average tax rates is greater for those on lower incomes. It can also undermine incentives for these workers and can create incentives for tax minimisation by high income earners,” Mr Seymour said, adding that true tax reform was about gaining trust in the political and bureaucratic process.

“Everything should be on the table – there are no sacred cows or panaceas – the whole tax mix needs to be reviewed.”

GST and superannuation tax concessions were highlighted as two areas that should see reform.

“Government will need to demonstrate a willingness to establish compensation for an increase or broadening of the GST in a transparent, fair and critically, a sustainable way,” Mr Seymour said.

“There are also challenges in effectively targeting low income earners, who fall below the tax free threshold, but do not qualify for welfare payments.”

Mr Seymour said attempts to address Australia’s fiscal and economic challenges by stopping concessions on negative gearing and superannuation and pushing higher company tax were “narrowly-defined solutions”, moves that failed to take into account the role tax plays on the country’s economic performance.

“Comprehensive tax reform will not be based on changes to one or two taxes, but rather a package of tax measures will be required to address current distortions and support economic growth,” Mr Seymour said.

“The Government should reconsider ruling out reforms to superannuation arrangements and negative gearing, and a demand that changes to the GST only be pursued if bi-partisan support could be garnered.”

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