Labor says it’ll make tax time less taxing for small-business owners

Taxing Times, tax time

Workers and small-business owners would be able to get advice on their tax at free expert clinics under a plan proposed by Labor.

Labor frontbencher Andrew Leigh and Shadow Assistant Treasurer said that the 10 free tax clinics, which would be rolled out under a Shorten government, would “make tax less taxing”.

“While multinationals and millionaires can afford an armada of experts to navigate the tax system, low- and middle-income Australians are often intimidated by the tax system, and unsure where to turn to get help,” Dr Leigh said.

Under the plan, each tax clinic would have volunteers, students and pro bono tax practitioners on hand to help low-income taxpayers and microbusinesses with administrative tax matters, including completing tax returns and responding to queries raised by the tax office. The plan is similar to one already in place in the United States, the Low Income Taxpayer Clinic program, that provides federal funds to organisations who provide information and assistance to taxpayers there.

As well, the law would be changed to allow the clinics to register as tax agents in their own right.

A trial run by Western Australia’s Curtin University found the clinics not only saved stress and time for taxpayers but offered a training opportunity for students and allowed tax professionals to give back to the community.