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Boosting the knowledge economy: the role of taxation in businesses’ choice of location of intangible property


Intangible property has become a key aspect of the modern economy with increasing focus by the Organisation for Economic Development (OECD) and national regulators on the value stored in such assets. The changes to the identification and taxation of intangible property in the United Kingdom 2002 Finance Bill were said to be needed in order to clear up the confused and ad hoc rules applicable to intangibles. The Regulatory Impact Statement that accompanied the changes in Schedule 29 indicated inter alia that “[w]ithout reform, the UK would continue to treat intangible assets less favourably than many other countries to the disadvantage of companies based here.” The changes were welcomed and, despite early amendments required to deal with unforeseen consequences of the changes, appear to have been effective in improving the coherence and simplicity of the taxation of intangibles. This article questions whether the reforms have made the UK a more attractive place to do business using intangibles.

Author profiles

Prof Michael Walpole CTA
Prof Michael Walpole is a Professor of Taxation Law in the School of Accounting, Auditing and Taxation (including Atax) at UNSW Business School. Prior to academic life, Michael was variously a Tax Consultant with Ernst & Young, and was in private practice as a legal practitioner. 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 is an International Research Fellow at the Oxford University Centre for Business Tax in the Said Business School, University of Oxford. He has been a visiting Professor at the OECD’s Centre for Tax Policy and Administration and remains involved in its work on GST/VAT. - Current at 21 December 2020
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Shirley CARLON
Corresponding author, Senior Lecturer, School of Taxation and Business Law, UNSW
Current at September 2013
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