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Small business must move on GST

SMALL business needs to learn how the GST will affect them – fast, says Small Business Development Corporation director enterprise development Bruce McFarlane.

Mr McFarlane told a Stirling Busi-ness Association breakfast that small business needs to determine the GST status of products and services. Are they GST free or subject to input tax?

“They need to determine their customers’ entitlement to GST credits,” he said. “They have to determine a pricing structure and predict the impact on customer demand, identifying contracts spanning 1 July 1 2000.

“They need to identify key business decisions that could be affected by the tax and their ability to comply.

“They will even need to review commercial tenancy leases.”

Mr McFarlane said there would be a need for good accounting packages to track tax credits so small businesses could claim them as quickly as possible.

Wholesale sales tax refunds need to be registered by 1 July 2000 and claimed before 22 January 2001.

Council of Small Business Organisations of Australia chief executive Rob Bastian said the GST was not simple but the Federal Government had made $500 million available to help people understand the new system.

“There is a massive amount of learning to do,” Mr Bastian said. “Small business signed on to the GST deal because they thought it was good for Australia.”

But Mr Bastian said that deal had changed from the one small business had supported. He said the Federal Government had to regain small business confidence, particularly given the retention of Financial Institutions Duty and Bank Accounts Debit tax.

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