Free Tax Clinics for Businesses in Labor Election Sweetener

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Small business owners would be able to get advice on their tax at free expert clinics under a new policy announced by Labor, in a bid to gain business owner votes in the upcoming Federal Election.

In comments obtained by Inside Small Business, Labor frontbencher Andrew Leigh and Shadow Assistant Treasurer Chris Bowen 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 policy, each tax clinic would have a number of volunteers, students and tax practitioners to help 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.

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

A trial run has already been completed through Western Australia’s Curtin University and findings included that the trial 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.

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