Food retailers with annual earnings under A$2m will be able to use a simplified tax-accounting method and save time and paperwork, according to an announcement made yesterday by The Australian Government.

The concessionary move has been introduced to alleviate the administration difficulties many businesses are facing with the recent implementation of the goods and services tax (GST). Rather than recording every single item and its tax status, such businesses may now use a “snapshot” method; calculating the GST-free percentage of sales by looking at a short sample period.

Cynical observers believe that the move is a bid by Prime Minister John Howard to retain the support of small businesses in the run up to the next election.