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Taxing the Bull by the Horns: Reforming Australia's cross-border GST rules.


Against a backdrop of the global financial crisis, the significance of Budget Night 2009 for Australia’s GST was dwarfed, if not completely eclipsed, by other spending, borrowing, and taxation measures. But to GST experts, 12 May 2009 marks the first time since its introduction that significant reviews of the policy and design of Australia’s GST have been commenced. This paper is concerned with the subject matter of one of those reviews: the review by the Board of Taxation of the GST treatment of cross-border transactions. The author was amongst those who had repeatedly recommended changes to Australia’s GST cross-border jurisdictional rules and this paper explains the reasons for making such recommendations, which relate primarily to the over-inclusion of non-residents in the tax net. Indeed, the press release announcing the Board of Taxation’s review makes it clear that the role of non-residents forms the primary focus of the Government’s concerns. The Board has been charged with the task of seeking reforms to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the GST law and simplify its design while respecting the fact that GST is both a tax on final consumption in Australia and a multi-stage transaction tax.

Author profile:

Rebecca MILLAR
Rebecca is a Senior Lecturer at the Faculty of Law, University of Sydney. Her areas of interest include GST, Comparative VAT, and the R&D concession. As well as her academic work, Rebecca is a member of the ATO Indirect Taxes Rulings Panel and a consultant to the International Monetary Fund and Michael Johnson & Associates, a Sydney consultancy specialising in Government support for research and innovation. In her work for the IMF, Rebecca has been responsible for drafting VAT and excise tax laws for developing nations, and has also participated in IMF missions advising Governments on the VAT treatment of new residential property and financial services. Before joining the University, Rebecca worked in the GST and Transaction Taxes group at Ernst & Young from 1999 to 2002 and with Michael Johnson and Associates from 1992 to 1999.
Current at 28 August 2006 Current at 01 October 2009 Click here to expand/collapse more articles by Rebecca MILLAR.


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