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Tangled up in tape: The continuing tax compliance plight of the small and medium enterprise business sector


Firms in the small and medium enterprise (SME) sector have to contend not just with the burden of tax. They also have to comply with obligations imposed by the tax system. Studies invariably show such tax compliance costs to be high and regressive. This article reports on a recent large-scale Australian study which confirm previous research and also suggests that tax compliance costs for SMEs are not diminishing over time, despite tax administrative reform and technological advances designed to reduce such costs. The outcomes of the study have significant implications for businesses in the SME sector, their advisers, administrators working with revenue authorities and policy-makers at the governmental level.

Author profiles:

Phil Lignier
Phil works for Tasmanian School of Business and Economics, University of Tasmania, Australia.
  • Current at 1 May 2014

    Author Photo - Christopher Evans
    Prof Christopher Evans
    Chris is Professor of Taxation and former Head of the Australian School of Taxation (Atax) at UNSW Australia. He specialises in comparative taxation, capital and wealth taxation, tax law and administration, tax policy and reform. His PhD from UNSW was a comparative study of the operating costs of taxing capital gains. He also holds a master’s degree in European Political Integration from Leicester University and a Bachelor’s honours degree in Economics from London University, as well as postgraduate educational qualifications from Leeds University. He has researched and published extensively in taxation, and is a co-author of Australian Taxation Law and Cooper & Evans on CGT. He is General Editor of Australian Tax Review and Editorial Board member of other journals. He has served on a number of governmental and professional body committees and working parties in Australia and overseas, including the UK’s Mirrlees Committee and the HMRC International Panel on tax administration. Current at 04 July 2014 Click here to expand/collapse more articles by Chris EVANS.

    Binh TRAN-NAM
    Binh is an Associate Professor, School of Taxation and Business Law, UNSW and Senior Fellow, Taxation Law and Policy Research Institute, Monash University.
    Current at 01 May 2014
    Click here to expand/collapse more articles by Binh TRAN-NAM.
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