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Tax law improvement in Australia and the UK: the need for a strategy for simplification

Publication date: 01 Nov 97 | Source: FISCAL STUDIES

Issue: Vol 18 No4

Pages: pp. 445-460

In both Australia and the UK, programmes are under way to simplify tax legislation by rewriting it. This paper demonstrates that tax simplification is a complicated concept and concludes that sustainable improvement is unlikely to be achieved if reform is limited only to linguistic changes. Tax law is complicated because there are powerful pressures that tend to increase the complexity of modern tax systems and these should also be considered in any simplification programme. In addition, tax simplification may be promoted by the greater use of purposive legislation - that is, legislation drafted in terms of general principles rather than much more comprehensive legislation designed to deal with every likely possibility. The paper examines the progress of the Australian TLIP and argues that what is needed is a strategy for tax simplification that is incorporated into the process of generating tax policy itself.

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Author profiles

Click here to expand/collapse more articles by Ian WALLSCHUTZKY.
Simon is at the University of Exeter, UK and a Visiting Fellow at the Australian National University.
Current at April 2007
Click here to expand/collapse more articles by Simon JAMES.