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The implementation of social and economic policy through the tax regime: a review of Australia’s tax expenditures program


Each year the Australian Federal Treasury releases its Tax Expenditures Statement providing details of concessions, benefits, and incentives delivered through the tax regime to Australian taxpayers. The current Tax Expenditures Statement, released on 25 January 2008, lists approximately 300 tax expenditures and reports on the estimated pecuniary value in terms of revenue foregone, estimated to be a total of $50.12 billion for the 2006-07 financial year. Apart from the annual Tax Expenditures Statement, and despite the recurring fiscal impact, there is very little other scrutiny of Australia’s Federal tax expenditures program. This is despite tax expenditures often being seen as an alternative to direct expenditures with similar impact on the Federal budget. The object of tax expenditures is to provide government assistance and meet government objectives, and, as such, tax expenditures are departures from the revenue raising aspect of the tax regime. Within this context, this article examines the fundamental concept of tax expenditures as contrasted with direct expenditures and considers the role they play in the current tax regime.

Author profile

Prof Kerrie Sadiq CTA
Kerrie is a Professor of Taxation in the School of Accountancy at the QUT Business School, Queensland University of Technology. She holds a Bachelor of Commerce (B Com) from The University of Queensland, a Bachelor of Laws (Honours) (LLB Hons) from The University of Queensland, a Master of Laws (LLM) from Queensland University of Technology, and a PhD from Deakin University. Kerrie is a Chartered Tax Adviser as designated by the Taxation Institute of Australia and a Graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors. Kerrie primarily researches in international tax, tax expenditures and capital gains tax. She is author of numerous publications in both Australian and International journals and edited books and is a co-author of taxation texts. She is a co-editor of Australian Tax Review, one of Australia’s leading tax journals. Kerrie is often cited in the media in relation to international tax issues and regularly receives invitations to speak on contemporary tax topics. Recent work has been specifically on issues in international tax, such as transfer pricing, the OECD’s approach to base erosion and profit shifting (BEPS), Australia’s role in the G20 and the BEPS project, and automatic exchange of tax information. Kerrie writes balanced articles on BEPS for The Conversation. She has written and presented findings for the Committee for Economic Development of Australia (CEDA) and in 2015 appeared before the Senate Inquiry into Corporate Tax Avoidance. Prior to joining Queensland University of Technology, Kerrie spent 20 years at The University of Queensland, as a member of both their Law School and Business School. - Current at 09 December 2017
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