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Understanding Australian small businesses and the drivers of compliance costs: a grounded theory approach

Published on 01 Jul 09 by "AUSTRALIAN TAX FORUM" JOURNAL ARTICLE

The paper presents an overview of a scoping study undertaken by the authors in 2006 for the Board of Taxation as part of a review being undertaken by the Board at the request of the then Federal Treasurer. The study was required to be qualitative in nature and not limited to tax compliance costs. A grounded theory approach was adopted and in depth interviews were conducted with small businesses and tax practitioners. Theories derived by this approach are described as “grounded” in the views and observations of the interviewees. Using matrix analysis, five theories were identified, refined and then validated by reference to other sources. The key finding was that while all small businesses incurred tax compliance costs, they were not an issue for all small businesses nor necessarily their major compliance cost concern.

Author profiles

Prof Michael Walpole CTA
Photo of author, Michael WALPOLE Prof Michael Walpole is Head of the School of Taxation and Business Law (including Atax) at UNSW Business School. Prior to academic life, Michael was variously a Tax Consultant with Ernst & Young, and was in private practice as a legal practitioner. Michael has authored and co-authored several books, including Proposals for the Reform of the Taxation of Goodwill, Understanding Taxation Law, and Compliance Cost Control. Michael has also written and presented many papers on his research topics to practitioner and academic audiences in Australia and overseas. He is the editor of the Australian Tax Forum and is an International Research Fellow at the Oxford University Centre for Business Tax in the Said Business School, University of Oxford. He has been a visiting Professor at the OECD’s Centre for Tax Policy and Administration and remains involved in its work on GST/VAT. - Current at 23 January 2018
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Prof Margaret McKerchar
Margaret is a Professor Australian School of Business, School of Taxation and Business Law, The University of New South Wales. - Current at 01 May 2014
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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
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