Board of Taxation chief tells SmartCompany more SME consultation on the table

Working with Treasury more closely on reform, speeding up the release of government reports and welcoming more SMEs to the consulting table are just a few of the items on the agenda of the new Board of Taxation chief.

In an interview with SmartCompany this morning, Teresa Dyson, who became head of the Board of Taxation – the federal government advisory body on tax law – from January 1, says she wants to work more closely with Treasury on developing policy.

“It all depends a bit on Treasury to be honest, at this stage there’s no concrete framework we’re working under, but we’ll be meeting early in the year.”

“There is a way to explore how the board can marshal the expertise of the board members and reach into business to help frame policy framework, to assist with making that policy.”

The Board of Taxation was created in 2000 to report on existing laws and recommend, if suitable, any changes. Dyson is the board’s third commissioner, and wants a bigger say in setting policy reform, continuing the board’s increasingly prominent role in helping address reform.

Last year, the board played a bigger role in addressing changes to laws around trusts, and for share schemes back in 2010.

SME and tax groups have called on the board to take a more active role in policy. CPA Australia told SmartCompany this morning it wants the board to work on filling in the missing links in the consulting process, in order to have more SMEs involved.

“There still isn’t an arrangement where they can get professionals in to look at stuff very early before they announced it, and I think that really needs to be looked at,” policy chief Paul Drum says.

“Maybe this is an opportunity through the board to enable some better input.”

Dyson says seeking out more consultation is high on the board’s agenda.

“Obviously draft reports and consultation papers are open for comment, and we’re being proactive in terms of wanting to find input for some groups,” she says.

“Whether that’s just putting their thoughts down in meetings, or specific reports, we just want to make sure we deliberately have more involved consultation.”

“We want to enhance that relationship with business.”

Dyson points to the board’s current review of the Division 7A laws, an attempt to clarify complicated rules around shareholders being able to borrow company funds. She says SMEs are invited to comment as much as possible.

“That’s obviously a big important change for the SME sector, so we’d appreciate all sorts of feedback there.”

“We’d very much encourage the views of the small business community on that one.”

Another key area of attention for Dyson will be to speed up the release and accuracy of government reports.

“It’s difficult for incoming heads to pick up reports. But we want to work through them and ensure the momentum and commitment is ongoing.”



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