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Legislating principles as a remedy for tax complexity.

Publication date: 15 Nov 10 | Source: BRITISH TAX REVIEW

Issue: No 4 2010

Pages: pp. 334-360

This article considers the recent experiment in the "principles-based drafting" of tax legislation in the UK, in the light of the experience in Australia during the last eight years. This article examines the genesis of this experiment in the tax re-writing projects that started in the 1990s, the metes and bounds of the notion of "principles-based drafting", the allure it holds for policy-makers and some of its implications for taxpayers, revenue administrators, tax policy-makers and judges. Two examples of "principles-based drafting" that have been enacted in the Australian tax legislation are examined in detail, confirming some of the predicted difficulties. This article considers whether the experiment is proving successful and whether the initial enthusiasm for the practice will continue.

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Author profile

Prof Gordon Cooper
Gordon was a Chartered Accountant in sole practice at Cooper & Co. He was an Adjunct Professor in the School of Taxation and Business Law (incorporating the Australian School of Taxation) at the University of New South Wales. In June 2003, he was awarded an AM in the Queen’s birthday honours for “Services to the tax profession and to the community as an adviser on national taxation and legislative reform, and through education and professional organisations”. Together with Chris Evans and Kirk Wilson, he was an author of the Australian CGT Handbook. - Current at 27 June 2017
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