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Eateries Call for Lunch Tax Break

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Tasmanian restaurants are calling for the return of tax breaks for business lunches to help protect them from the financial crisis. “Unlike the car industry, they don't have to give us $6.2bn,'' said Hobart's Blue Skies waterfront restaurant owner Geoff Copping yesterday. Instead, he wants a return of the days when local businesses were allowed to wine and dine their clients and customers on a tax-deductible basis.

``It would be a matter of saying that if you're an electrician in West Hobart earning $500,000, you can spend $5000 entertaining clients,'' said Mr Copping, a national board member of Restaurant and Catering Australia .

He said that would give the state's hospitality industry year-round certainty, something that was especially important in regional areas.

Big companies no longer had offices outside Sydney and Melbourne so places like Hobart now missed out on the big corporate spend, he said. On top of that, the fringe benefits tax had deterred small and medium businesses from company dining.

``Fringe benefits tax saw 40 per cent of our business walk away,'' Mr Copping said.

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