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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.

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