South Australian Tax Review

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1 South Australian Tax Review Response to Discussion Paper APRIL 2015 Page 1

2 RESTAURANT & CATERING AUSTRALIA Restaurant & Catering Australia (R&CA) is the national industry association representing the interests of 35,000 restaurants, cafes and catering businesses across Australia. R&CA delivers tangible outcomes to small businesses within the hospitality industry by influencing the policy decisions and regulations that impact the sector s operating environment. R&CA is committed to ensuring the industry is recognised as one of excellence, professionalism, profitability and sustainability. This includes advocating the broader social and economic contribution of the sector to industry and government stakeholders, as well as highlighting the value of the restaurant experience to the public. Cover images courtesy of Tourism Australia Page 1

3 TABLE OF CONTENTS EXECUTIVE SUMMARY 3 Labour intensity of tourism and hospitality operators 4 Employment growth in the tourism and hospitality sector 5 SOUTH AUSTRALIA S TAX SYSTEM 7 Payroll tax 7 Broadening of the Goods and Services Tax (GST) 8 Implications for the tourism & hospitality sector 10 CONCLUSION 11 Page 2

4 EXECUTIVE SUMMARY Restaurants, cafes and hospitality providers are an important part of South Australia s economy. Cafes, restaurants and takeaway businesses are the largest employer across all tourism-related sectors in the visitor economy; employing 32,600 South Australians in 2,000 businesses. These businesses are small businesses; with 92 per cent of café and restaurant owners employing 19 people or less. In , South Australia s visitor economy generated $556 million in tax revenue for the state. This includes $174 million in direct and $382 million in indirect taxes. South Australia s visitor economy, including service industries such as cafes and restaurants, requires a fair and equitable tax system that recognises the labour-intensive nature of the sector. Tourism and hospitality businesses rely heavily on labour for productivity, efficiency, and growth, and therefore bear a disproportionate tax burden due to their labour intensity and customer service focus. Bias towards labour taxes such as payroll tax creates horizontal inequity between service and non-service industries. Payroll tax, PAYG, superannuation, and income tax obligations all represent a greater proportion of hospitality business revenues compared to small businesses operating in other sectors. With the café, restaurant and takeaway services sector projected to be one of the fastest growing sectors in the economy, such bias encourages investment away from these service industries, negatively impacting productivity and growth of the visitor economy. As a fundamental principle, federal and state governments should strive to reduce the volume of taxes in the current system by broadening the base of a select number of taxes and abandoning inefficient taxes that create administrative red tape and compliance costs for small operators. R&CA supports the examination of the state s payroll tax system through the South Australian Tax Review, and believes the payroll tax threshold should be increased to encourage small business to expand and grow while removing additional thresholds and exemptions that create complexity, and allow big business to game the system. R&CA recognises that discussions around the broadening of more efficient taxes will need to take place in a federal context, and remain outside the control of the South Australian Government. However, supporting the broadening of more effective taxes such as the GST is a way to ensure changes to the payroll system remain revenue neutral, while reducing the complexity of determining tax credits for small businesses, particularly in the tourism and hospitality industry. Page 3

5 THE TAX SYSTEM & THE HOSPITALITY SECTOR Tax contributions of the tourism and hospitality sector The restaurant, café and catering sector forms a critical component of the visitor economy. The visitor economy is defined as the direct and indirect value generated from the provision of tourismrelated goods and services 1. Total consumption across the visitor economy in South Australia totalled $6.3 billion in Cafés, restaurants and catering services contributed $1 billion in earnings to the state economy, of which $592 million was directly attributed to the visitor economy 3. In , the visitor economy generated $556 million in tax revenue for the state. This includes $174 million in direct and $382 million in indirect taxes. Research indicates that each Australian household would have paid an additional $1,207 in taxes without the tax revenue generated nationally by the tourism industry 4. Labour intensity of tourism and hospitality operators There are approximately 2,020 restaurant and café businesses operating in South Australia, of which 92 per cent are characterised as small business (employing 19 people or less) 5. Takeaway businesses represent a further 436 operators across the state. Collectively, these organisations employ 32,600 people, of which 6.1 per cent or 9,100 are directly employed in the tourism industry 6. Tourism Research Australia s Tourism Businesses in Australia report indicates that tourism is a labourintensive industry, driven by higher labour costs. The report demonstrates that as an industry, with a high share of micro and small businesses, the Gross Value Added (GVA) per employee is low. The average GVA for an employee in a tourism business in was approximately $65,000, much lower than the average of $119,000 for all industries 7. As a result, payroll tax and superannuation obligations place a higher compliance cost burden on smaller businesses operating in this sector. 1 The Travel & Tourism Competitiveness Report 2009 World Economic Forum 2 Tourism Research Australia (TRA), Tourism Satellite Account , p.vi 3 Tourism Research Australia (TRA), Tourism Satellite Account ; p.41 4 Tourism & Transport Forum (2014) Tourism and the Australian Economy: State & Territory Visitor Economy Impacts, Edition 5 Australian Bureau of Statistics, Counts of Australian Businesses, including Entries and Exits, Jun 2009 to Jun TRA State Tourism Satellite Accounts ; ABS Labour Force Australia, Detailed, Quarterly, cat no , Department of Employment trend data. 7 Tourism Research Australia (2013) Tourism Businesses in Australia, June 2010 to June 2012, p1 Page 4

6 Employment growth in the tourism and hospitality sector Service Skills Australia s Tourism, Travel and Hospitality Environmental Scan 2014 highlights that strong domestic demand and a growing tourism base is expected to lead to phenomenal employment growth in the visitor economy over the next five years, particularly in the café, restaurant and takeaway food sector 8. Employment growth in this sector will exceed any other in the Australian economy, with an expected growth of 43,700 workers, or an increase of 8.5 per cent 9 (See Figure 1). These forecasts are further supported by projections released by the Department of Employment that indicate the accommodation and food services sector alone has a projected five-year employment growth rate of 7.1 per cent, requiring an additional 55,200 workers by November These projections will have significant implications for the visitor economy in South Australia, particularly with regards to labour-based taxes including payroll tax. Figure 1: Top 20 industry sectors ranked by projected growth to November 2017 ( 000s) Café, Restaurants and Takeaway Food Services Child Care Services School Education Other Construction Services Building Completion Services Medical Services Other Social Assistance Services Legal and Accounting Services Allied Health Services Computer System Design and Related Services Pulbic Order and Safety Services Building Cleaning, Pest Control and Gardening Services Tertiary Education Hospitals Specialised Food Retailing Pharmaceutical and Other Store-Based Retailing Supermarket and Grocery Stores Sports and Physical Recreation Activities Electrical and Electronic Goods Retailing Residential Care Services Source: Department of Employment, 2013, Employment Outlook to Service Skills Australia (2013) Tourism, Travel and Hospitality Environmental Scan 2014, p.21 updated with figures from the Department of Employment (2014) 2014 Employment Projections, Industry projections to November DEEWR (2012) Employment Outlook to 2017, p Department of Employment (2014) 2014 Employment Projections, Industry projections to November 2018 Page 5

7 THE SECTOR CONTRIBUTES $1 BILLION TO THE STATE ECONOMY CAFÉ, RESTAURANTS & CATERING, $1,040 BILLION TAKEAWAY COMPONENT, $945 MILLION CONTRIBUTES $592 MILLION TO THE TOURISM INDUSTRY AND $236 MILLION TO TOURISM GROSS VALUE ADDED THE SECTOR EMPLOYS 32,600 PEOPLE WITH 9,100 PEOPLE OR 6.1% EMPLOYED DIRECTLY IN TOURISM 2,020 CAFÉ, RESTAURANT, & CATERING BUSINESSES IN SOUTH AUSTRALIA 92% ARE SMALL BUSINESSES TOURISM GENERATES $556 MILLION IN TAXES FOR SOUTH AUSTRALIA AUSTRALIAN HOUSEHOLDS WOULD PAY AN ADDITIONAL $1,207 IN TAXES WITHOUT THE REVENUE GENERATED FROM THE TOURISM SECTOR. Page 6

8 SOUTH AUSTRALIA S TAX SYSTEM R&CA supports the government s objective of ensuring the tax system provides sufficient revenue to deliver high quality infrastructure and services to the community now and into the future. R&CA understands businesses must pay their fair share of state taxes; at the same time the tax system must not hinder the growth, productivity, or entrepreneurship of small business owners. R&CA recognises South Australia is the third lowest taxing jurisdiction in comparison to other states and already has one of the most competitive payroll tax regimes according to the Commonwealth Grants Commission. Support for reform in this context must be measured to provide realistic solutions. R&CA s greatest interest in the review pertains to payroll tax, given the sectors labour intensity and reliance on its workforce for productivity. Inefficiencies in the current system are likely to be exacerbated further by the expected growth in the sector in the future. Payroll tax One of the greatest tax reform priorities for the state must be payroll tax. R&CA s 2014 Industry Benchmarking Report found that staff wages and on-costs can represent up to 45.3 per cent of business expenses 11. As a labour intensive industry, hospitality businesses bear a disproportionate burden of state taxation through the payroll tax system. The payroll tax threshold acts as an artificial deterrent from business expansion and employment growth, as the compliance and payroll tax costs act as incentive for businesses to remain inefficiently small 12. The Henry Tax Review into Australia s Future tax system considers payroll tax to be a consistent and dependable tax base, but highly inefficient due to tax free thresholds, exemptions and complexity across state borders. The Henry Review found that payroll tax is the third most inefficient tax after royalties and crude oil excise and insurance taxes, which cause in excess of 40 cents of economic damage for every dollar of additional revenue raised 13. The Henry Review recommends that state 11 R&CA (2014) Industry Benchmarking Report, Financial Results Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (2014) Board of Taxation Review: Tax Impediment facing small business, May Commonwealth of Australia (2010) Australia s future tax system Report to the Treasurer December 2009 Part One Overview, p.13 as quoted in Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (2014) Board of Taxation Review: Tax Impediment facing small business, May 2014 Page 7

9 payroll taxes should be replaced with revenue from more efficient broad based taxes that capture the value add of labour 14. R&CA believes reducing and ultimately abolishing payroll tax is necessary if small businesses are to remain competitive in the state. However, increasing the payroll tax threshold in the interim would reduce the compliance cost for small- to medium-sized hospitality operators while this longer term objective is being realised. Other grossly inefficient state taxes such as insurance levies which cause individuals and businesses to be under-insured aggravating pre-existing market failures and conveyancing stamp duties which cause businesses to minimise their transactions and investment in property, should also be slated for abolition. Broadening of the Goods and Services Tax (GST) Since the delivery of the Federal budget, discussions have arisen over the potential broadening and increase in the Goods and Services Tax (GST). While R&CA recognise the administration of the GST remains the jurisdiction of the Australian Government, there are significant implications for the state if this occurs. Analysis conducted by KPMG over page reveals the economic impact of changes to the GST, and the implications for smaller inefficient taxes such as conveyancing duty, insurance tax and payroll tax Commonwealth of Australia (2010) Australia s future tax system Report to the Treasurer December 2009 Part One Overview 15 KPMG (2011) CPA Australia: Economic Analysis of the Impacts of Using GST to Reform Taxes, September 2011 Page 8

10 Scenario Revenue Generation Impact on living standards Impact on inefficient taxes 12.5% GST replacing some less efficient taxes $10.5 billion in additional revenue $1.6 billion higher Abolition of: Insurance duty and fire insurance duty Motor vehicle taxes stamp duty and registration 10% of commercial conveyancing duty 15% GST replacing some less efficient taxes $20 billion in additional revenue $4.7 billion higher Abolition of: Insurance duty and fire insurance duty Motor vehicle taxes stamp duty and registration commercial conveyancing duty 40% of payroll tax 20% GST replacing some less efficient taxes $40 billion in additional revenue $4.6 billion higher Abolition of: Insurance duty and fire insurance duty Motor vehicle taxes stamp duty and registration commercial conveyancing duty all of payroll tax Uniform GST replacing some less efficient taxes $11.5 billion in additional revenue $4.0 billion higher Abolition of: Insurance duty and fire insurance duty Motor vehicle taxes stamp duty and registration Broadening to include consumption of products that are currently GST-free 50% of commercial conveyancing duty From the table above, and a preliminary examination of GST distribution should the GST be increased to 12.5 per cent (below), it is evident that an increase or broadening of the GST would more than cover the increased payroll tax bill should the payroll threshold be increased or further reforms occur to reduce the compliance cost to small businesses. NSW VIC QLD WA SA TAS ACT NT TOTAL $m $m $m $m $m $m $m $m $m Estimated Illustrative % GST (indicative*) *Note: Figures based on Report on GST Revenue Sharing Relativities 2014 Update. Calculation of GST revenue does not reflect changes in GST distribution that may occur as a result of fiscal capacities of State governments, and should not be taken as a true or reliable estimation of distributed revenues. Page 9

11 IMPLICATIONS FOR THE TOURISM & HOSPITALITY SECTOR A broadening of the GST base would deliver considerable cost savings for hospitality businesses. Restaurants, cafes and caterers face considerable complexity in determining and claiming GST credits, as GST only applies to a proportion of their inputs. This is particularly true in relation to determining GST paid on produce in a restaurant business. For example, there is no GST on raw chicken, however GST is applicable to value-add products such as smoked chicken, cooked chicken or diced chicken products. This means to determine their GST liability, restaurant owners are forced to work through invoice by invoice the GST paid, while small businesses in other sectors can simply assume that all their inputs attract GST. For a restaurant or catering business, the process of claiming a credit for the GST component of the purchase price of the item is varied and complex. The broadening of the tax base to include fresh food and produce for this sector would represent savings to businesses by reducing red tape and the administrative burden associated with calculating GST paid for tax purposes. While this has been addressed to some extent by the averaging method made available by the ATO, greater simplification of the GST would remove the additional burden altogether, while reduce the state s reliance on inefficient taxes such as payroll tax. Page 10

12 CONCLUSION R&CA welcomes the opportunity to provide comment to the South Australian Tax Review. The review provides a timely opportunity to examine the tax system so as businesses remain competitive, while supporting the development of infrastructure and services in the state. As a labour-intense sector, the tourism and hospitality sector suffers a disproportionate tax burden through the payroll tax system. This is in addition to other inefficient taxes such as conveyancing tax that does not facilitate the easy transfer of businesses between owners. R&CA believes the payroll tax threshold should be increased to provide a greater opportunity for smaller businesses to expand their operation and hire additional staff. In addition, no further exemptions or additional thresholds should apply as it provides an opportunity for larger companies, ones with the capability and financial means, to game the system to their advantage. Supporting the broadening of more effective taxes such as the GST is one such way to ensure changes to the payroll system remain revenue neutral for the state. For the tourism and hospitality industry, this would also lead to further cost savings by reducing the complexity in determining tax credits that apply in their businesses. R&CA recognises that such reform lies outside the jurisdiction of the state government, but has the capacity to significantly change the tax landscape in the state. Page 11

13 RESTAURANT & CATERING AUSTRALIA PO Box 121 SURRY HILLS NSW 2010 T F Page 12

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