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Abstract

Australia’s small business sector has pursued often-competing imperatives of simplicity, equity and efficiency in the income tax regime (particularly focusing on the notion of simplicity) over the last decade. In 2001, there was an attempt to provide such simplification and reduce the compliance burden faced by Australian small businesses through the ‘simplified tax system’ (‘STS’). However, despite amendments over the years, the regime is much criticised. This article explores how the STS (now known as the ‘small business entity’ regime or ‘SBE’) is utilised from the perspective of tax practitioners, by analysing their recommendations to small business clients in respect of the regime. The results indicate that practitioners believe the regime did nothing to simplify the tax system for small businesses or reduce tax compliance costs. Indeed, the practitioners believed that the introduction of small business concessions had actually achieved the opposite result — it had increased tax compliance costs for their small business clients. However, tax practitioners still recommend the regime highly because it minimises their client’s tax liability.

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