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Mum - It's Not Fair! An Analysis of Transfer Payments to Australian Families Applying the Criteria of Equity and Simplicity

Published on 01 Jul 04 by "AUSTRALIAN TAX FORUM" JOURNAL ARTICLE

One of the principles of a good taxation system is the principle of equity. Under the principle of vertical equity a fair taxation system can be used to redistribute income where taxpayers' personal circumstances require some level of public support. These transfer payments may be made by direct transfer, or through the taxation system.

One of the personal differences recognised through transfer payments is family structure. Sole parent families, and families that are substantially supported by a single wage earner may qualify for transfer payments of various kinds.

However family structures are changing in modern society. Government policy determines which families qualify for transfer payments, and whether those payments are through the tax system or by direct payment.

This paper discusses the transfer payments currently available to families. Some of the issues addressed include:
- are the payments appropriately targeted at families in financial need
- has the current 'Family Tax Benefit' simplified the regime when compared with previous regimes
- are the payments more effective as direct payments or through the tax system

And is the government using such payments purely as a tax relief measure, or are there other policy reasons underlying the structure of the benefits.

Author profile:

Dr Helen Hodgson CTA
Helen joined Curtin Law School as an Associate Professor in 2014, following 10 years teaching in the Atax programme at UNSW. Helen has a particular interest in tax policy, and was a participant at the 2010 Tax Forum. Her current area of research is the tax-transfer system, but she also researches in superannuation, and the gender impacts of the tax-transfer system. In 2010, Helen was a co-author of the Women's Voices Report commissioned by the Equality Rights Alliance to examine factors influencing women's workforce participation, including superannuation, tax and transfer issues. Helen holds qualifications in accounting, business law and taxation, and is a Fellow of the Australian Society of Certified Practising Accountants. Current at 01 January 2016 Click here to expand/collapse more articles by Helen HODGSON.
 
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