Business group lobbies tax office for leniency for struggling SMEs

The Council of Small Business Organisations of Australia will lobby government officials and the Australian Taxation Office for leniency for small businesses that are struggling to meet their tax obligations as a result of the downturn.

The Council of Small Business Organisations of Australia will lobby government officials and the Australian Taxation Office for leniency for small businesses that are struggling to meet their tax obligations as a result of the downturn.

COSBOA chief executive Jonathan Brake says his organisation wants to discuss ways to improve liquidity for SMEs at the small business summit scheduled to take place on Friday in Brisbane.

As well as lobbying the tax office for leniency for SMEs, Brake would like to explore ways for banks and big business creditors to give their small business customers a bit of breathing space.

Friday’s summit will be attended by Prime Minister Kevin Rudd, Treasurer Wayne Swan and Small Business Minister Craig Emerson, as well as the heads of business banking from Australia’s major banks.

“The overall crux is to get information flowing between Government and the SME sector so we can eradicate some of the fear that’s going on.”

Brake is particularly concerned at reports of banks getting concerned about small business borrowers. He says he has heard of reports of banks examining the books of business customers, sharply reducing their valuation of the company’s assets and demanding hundreds of thousands of dollars in collateral.

“Small businesses just don’t have that kind of money lying around,” Brake says.

“We don’t want to see a precedent of the banks suddenly getting jittery. We are seeing small business starting to get thumped in the process.”

Brake is also keen to discuss innovation funding with Government officials and says he is concerned about the lack of public and private sector money available for SMEs involved in R&D and commercialisation.

“We don’t want to see a situation where commercialisation and innovation dries up.”

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