17 Mar 2012

Company tax rate cut 'unlikely' in short term

9:41 am on 17 March 2012

Treasury secretary Gabriel Makhlouf says the Government's goal of a budget surplus by 2014/15 will make it difficult to further cut the company tax rate even if that is good for growth.

In a speech to the International Fiscal Association in Queenstown on Saturday, Mr Makhlouf said New Zealand's corporate tax rate from 2000 was above the average for developed countries.

He said that gap had closed more recently, and cutting the corporate rate again to close the gap further still might be a good idea.

But Mr Makhlouf said the Government's goal of a surplus by the 2014/15 financial year means a cut in the short term is unlikely.

A cut in the company tax rate could eat into the Government's revenues, making the surplus target harder to achieve.

Mr Makhlouf says other tax-raising options are being considered in light of the surplus target, including scrapping tax breaks for some mining.

He appeared to discount further increases in the goods and services tax, though he said New Zealand's GST is the best value-added tax in the world and should be protected from exemptions that undermine it.