Time to pull GST out of the too hard basket

We’ve heard a lot about what politicians, economists and commentators think about tax reform, but what about the punters?

Fresh new research conducted by Newgate Research shows everyday Australians have very strong views on the subject.

For starters they hate stamp duty. When asked to rank taxes in terms of fairness, stamp duty comes dead last (closely followed by land tax). In fact, over two-thirds of Australians support the idea of abolishing it completely.

Of course, they view stamp duty largely from a housing perspective, with 68 per cent saying they have been personally affected by the tax and over half saying it made it harder for them to afford a home.

The big surprise was their views on the GST. Far from being political poison, people see it as our fairest tax. Some 65 per cent of respondents rated it fair or very fair, with only 35 per cent describing it as unfair.

Strikingly, Australians have a high level of expectation that the GST will go up. Some 72 per cent believe the GST will probably or definitely be increased over the next decade while only eight per cent believe it won’t.

Most encouragingly, there was strong support for the Property Council’s concept of a tax mix switch, trading off a higher or broader GST for stamp duty abolition. Nearly half of respondents supported this with only 32 per cent opposed.

With the Prime Minister and his state and territory counterparts locking themselves away for a full day summit next Wednesday, it may just be time to pull GST out of the political too-hard basket.