The money spent on this week’s Tax Forum would have been better put to rewarding those who dob in a tax cheat.
With the tax forum reportedly costing taxpayers over $1 million to host over the past two days in Parliament House in Canberra, I feel that the funds could have been put to better use to help the tax system in the long run.
The best way to tackle tax revenue is to increase collection ... so why not offer a “spotters fee” to those who notify the Australian Tax Office (ATO) of a tax cheat. So why not give them a $1,000 bonus for every tax cheat they dob in?
Whilst I agree that it may force prices to rise as some businesses no longer give a “cash price”, I expect everyone to benefit with better infrastructure and lower taxes. This could increase tax revenue for the Government yet decrease tax rates across the board … it’s a win-win situation! With more tax revenue, the Government can make some meaningful change including better roads, hospitals and even lower tax rates for individuals and businesses.
The ATO Tax Evasion Hotline receives over 30,000 reports from the community each year and I believe that figure would triple if you rewarded taxpayers who provide meaningful information to the tax office of those individuals and businesses who don’t pay their fair share of taxes.
In fact, the ATO recovered more than $100 million last year in tax liabilities from the cash economy alone ... imagine how much more can be collected if you gave people an incentive to dob in a cheat?
We had the $900 stimulus payment two years’ ago … this could be the “Pay Your Fair Share” Stimulus payment.
The incentive could extend for those employers who don’t meet their superannuation guarantee obligations on behalf of employees. Your employer doesn’t pay your super? Well why not dob them in, get rewarded with $1,000 and get the ATO to force them to do the right thing by you in future.
I am fearful that there will not be any meaningful change to the tax system following this week’s forum. With only 25 participants (out of 187) being an academic or tax expert, it is likely that the forum will be merely an opportunity to voice an opinion rather than direct any real policy change. Sadly, it could become another National 2020 Summit which turned into a huge talkfest a few years with not one recommendaton being implemented by Government.
The National Tax Forum focussed on a broad sweep of topics covered by the Henry Tax Review and included six sessions on personal tax, transfer payments, business tax, state taxes, environmental and social taxes and tax system governance. It concludes today.