FBT CHANGES: ONLY 30% OF SME BUSINESSES TO MAINTAIN
CURRENT FLEET SIZE – SURVEY
Impact ‘significant’ say 56% of businesses
Only 30% of small and medium sized businesses (SMEs) intend maintaining their current fleet size following the recent FBT change announcement, according to a survey conducted last Friday by Fleetcare, Australia’s largest, independent fleet management company.
The Fleetcare survey, conducted among 200 company owners and fleet managers nationally, shows that businesses will change behaviour dramatically to minimise their tax exposure. 46% say their companies will keep cars longer, 36% intend cutting back on their fleet size and 24% are moving to cash allowances for drivers, instead of providing cars. Only 30% intend to maintain their current fleet size.
Overall, 56% of respondents said the FBT change would have a ‘major’ or ‘significant’ financial impact on their businesses. Only 13% of those surveyed said the changes would have no financial impact at all.
Nigel Malcolm, Chief Executive Officer of Fleetcare says: ‘SMEs were already doing it tough before the FBT changes were announced. These survey results show that they feel they’re being driven into the ground by this Government with its heavy tax burden and high compliance demands. At the very time the Government should be getting off their backs to allow them – and the economy - to grow, they’re squeezing the life out of them.’
‘What’s more, I don’t know what sums the Government has based its FBT revenue forecasts on, but with such a dramatic change in behaviour, the end result will be only a fraction of the tax revenues they may be expecting, a vehicle industry that has been eviscerated, and thousands of people out of work.’
On the subject of log books, only 18% of respondents said that in their experience drivers complete log books accurately. The risk to businesses in ensuring log book compliance is deemed ‘unacceptably high’ by 26% of respondents and ‘high’ by 30%. 45% say that they do not have the resources today to manage log books, given how time intensive the compliance process is likely to be.
The survey revealed the intensity of anger towards the Government over the changes. Asked to comment, many respondents voiced opinions along the lines, ‘FBT is a killer tax on small to medium businesses,’ ‘Random policy which has a broad negative effect,’ ‘What more can this government do to kill small businesses employing people?’ and, with more than a hint of irony, ‘Excellent decision by the government for the future of our nation. Hooray!’
Note to Editors
The Fleetcare survey was completed by 200 respondents between Thursday 1st and Monday 5th August 2013. 79% of the respondents had between 1 – 10 vehicles in their organisations and a further 13% had fleets sizes up to 30 vehicles, with the remaining 10% comprising much larger fleet sizes, including 3 respondents with over 100 vehicles.
The size of businesses who responded was also a cross section of Australian organisations from 56% employing 15 people or fewer, up to 8% who had over 100 employees.