Ilbery appointed as tax review chair

JACKSON McDonald chairman Jonathon Ilbery has been appointed to chair a business taxation reference group that is part of the WA Government’s review of business taxation.

The business tax review was announced in the State Budget in September.

WA Treasurer Eric Ripper said the review would improve the equity, efficiency and simplicity of the State’s business tax burden.

The review will examine all State taxes, including payroll tax, land tax, stamp duties, gambling taxes and motor vehicle taxes, and report in time for the 2002-03 State Budget.

Mr Ilbery’s reference group will work alongside the WA Treasury Department, with the first meeting expected this week.

Treasury is expected to report the review’s findings to Government by February.

However, industry groups were not happy with the short time they were given to provide submissions to the review.

Submissions closed last week but the Chamber of Commerce and Industry was forced to seek a week’s extension due to internal commitments relating to its board meeting.

Groups also are unhappy with the revenue neutrality constraints imposed by the review’s terms of reference.

Property Council of Australia WA Branch executive director Joe Lenzo said the taxation review was crucial.

“Unfortunately, the terms of reference make it a bit of a whitewash,” Mr Lenzo said.

“From the property industry’s point of view we’re focusing on the fact the property industry is the biggest tax payer in WA.”

Chamber of Commerce and Industry senior economist Dan Engles said the review needed to address WA’s tax competitiveness, which was being eroded by hikes in areas such as payroll tax.

Combined Small Business Associations of WA president Oliver Moon said the amount of time allowed for submissions was short but better than the comment period being allowed on crucial pieces of legislation, such as industrial relations change.

It is understood Consumer and Employment Protection Minister John Kobelke is allowing just 10 days for industry to comment on the Bill.

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