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Proposals for the reform of the taxation of goodwill in Australia paper

Published on 01 Jan 09 by Australian Tax Research Foundation

This study analyses Australian taxation law as it applies to goodwill. The analysis includes the state tax termed duty (still colloquially referred to as “stamp duty”); Goods and Services Tax (GST); taxation of capital gains (termed “CGT” although not a separate tax in Australia); income tax; and international tax rules. The purpose of the study is to identify the key features of goodwill and the areas in which the Australian approach to taxing goodwill could be reformed. The concluding chapters of the book suggest reforms that would improve the manner in which goodwill is recognised and dealt with in Australian taxation law. The study demonstrates that the current approach is inconsistent, encourages distortion and tax avoidance, and that the different taxes have conflicting effects on business dealings and investment in goodwill. The author’s thesis is that these defects lack justification and that aspects of these defects can be corrected by a clearer definition of goodwill and a more coherent alignment of the taxes affecting goodwill.

Author profile

Prof Michael Walpole CTA
Photo of author, Michael WALPOLE Prof Michael Walpole CTA is the Head of School at the School of Taxation and Business Law (including Atax) in the UNSW Business School. Prior to academic life, Michael worked as a Tax Consultant with Ernst & Young, and prior to that he was in private practice as a legal practitioner (solicitor and barrister). As a partner in a small firm, Michael's legal practice was extremely varied, ranging from criminal defence, through family law and estate planning, to commercial and taxation matters. Michael has authored and co-authored several books including Proposals for the Reform of the Taxation of Goodwill, Understanding Taxation Law and Compliance Cost Control. Michael has also written and presented many papers on his research topics to practitioner and academic audiences in Australia and overseas. He is the editor of the Australian Tax Forum and he is also author and co-author of a number of articles on GST, taxation of intellectual property, tax administration and taxation compliance costs. He has been awarded the Hill Medal by the Australasian Tax Teachers Association (ATTA) for his contribution to tax teaching and is a past President of ATTA. Michael is an International Research Fellow at the Oxford University Centre for Business Tax in the Said Business School, University of Oxford. In 2010 and 2012, he was engaged in a project at the Centre for Business Tax to study the role of tax in choices made by large companies when locating valuable intangible property. In 2012, Michael was also a Visiting Professor in the Centre for Tax Policy and Administration at the OECD in Paris. While at the OECD, Michael worked on research projects related to VAT and to tax compliance costs and he continues to contribute to the work of the CTPA Indirect Taxes division. - Current at 30 August 2017
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