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New Zealand's tax rewrite programme : in pursuit of the (Elusive) goal of simplicity.

Publication date: 01 Aug 07 | Source: BRITISH TAX REVIEW

Issue: No 4 2007

Pages: pp.405-427

New Zealand embarked on a project to rewrite its core taxation legislation in 1993, anticipating that this project would be completed in 5 years. 14 years later in 2007 the Income Tax Act rewrite is nearing completion, but other core revenue acts have yet to leave the starting blocks. The cost of the project to date is approx NZD 10 million for the Inland Revenue in terms of drafting and related costs, plus yet to be quantified compliance costs for taxpayers and tax advisors. Empirical research provides some evidence of readability, suggesting that some progress has been made towards the goal of simplicity. Continual change to the underlying legislation undermines this effort, diverts resources and appears to have contributed to the inordinate delay in the rewrite timeframe in addition to an underestimation of the size of the project.

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Author profile

Prof Adrian Sawyer
Adrian is Professor of Taxation in the Department of Accounting and Information Systems at the University of Canterbury, Christchurch NZ. - Current at 01 March 2015
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