Published on 01 Dec 08
by "AUSTRALIAN TAX FORUM" JOURNAL ARTICLE
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.