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ATO to include tax, super learning in Australian curriculum by 2024

ATO to include tax, super learning in Australian curriculum by 2024

The ATO aims to include tax and super learning in the Australian curriculum (federal and state) by 2024.

  • Maja Garaca Djurdjevic
  • January 22, 2019
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By 2024, the Australian Taxation Office wants to see tax and super actively taught in at least 50 per cent of schools, supported by products and services that have been co-designed with teachers and are accepted and accessible.

"Understanding the basics of taxation and superannuation is essential learning for all young Australians," Andrew Mills, second commissioner, law design and practice at the ATO, said.

In order to meet the 2024 deadline, the ATO has been co-designing a values-based primary school resource with teachers and various stakeholders, which it hopes to launch in mid-2019.

"Our schools education strategy is a core component of a longer-term strategy to foster a positive community culture towards tax and superannuation and dispel common myths," Mr Mills said at the Australasian Tax Teachers Association 31st annual conference in Perth, held on Friday.

One of the myths, Mr Mills said, is that big businesses don't pay the correct amount of tax. "A recent survey commissioned by the ATO found 73 per cent of people surveyed believed that big business did not pay the correct amount of tax," he revealed.

Another common misconception, according to Mr Mills, is that "everyone cheats a bit", with 32 per cent believing that one would have to cheat in excess of $1,000 before their cheating hurt others.

Working with the profession to educate clients

Apart from promoting tax knowledge among school children, the ATO also plans to focus on small and medium businesses by working with accountants, bookkeepers and business advisers to co-design and develop education, coaching and support services.

"The ATO has a growing program of work focused on helping small businesses understand their tax obligations and more effectively manage their businesses, broader than just tax," Mr Mills said.

Almost half of small businesses are under financial pressure within the first year of starting business and this pressure increases in years one to three, research has shown.

Moreover, more than 60 per cent of small businesses cease operating within three years of starting, while 90 per cent of small business failures are due to poor cash flow.

"To address this, the ATO has been working with tax professionals and other intermediaries over the last year to implement an educational coaching program called the ‘'Cash Flow Coaching Kit'," Mr Miller explained.

"This kit was co-designed with small businesses and tax professionals to quickly help small businesses to better understand, and easily identify, actions they can take to improve their cash flow and business performance."

Up to 30 June 2018, the Tax Office had trained nearly 1,000 tax professionals and business advisers to use the kit with their small business clients. It is now working on designing and building an interactive, digital version of the kit, which is expected to be available to tax professionals in the coming months.

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