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An Examination of Taxpayers' Attitutes Towards the Australian Tax System: Findings from a survey of tax scheme investors


In recent years, the number of taxpayers involved in aggressive tax planning has more than doubled, posing a serious threat to the integrity of Australia's tax system. To deal with the problem, the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) implemented a number of initiatives aimed at combating aggressive tax planning. Part of the ATO's crackdown involved issuing amended assessments to the 42,000 Australians who invested in mass marketed tax schemes. The majority of investors, however, resisted the ATO's attempts to recover scheme related tax debts. This paper discusses the findings of an empirical study that shows that the resistance was due partly to the manner in which the ATO dealt with the schemes issue. Using survey data collected from 2301 tax scheme investors, and 2040 taxpayers from the general population, it will be shown that those who invested in tax schemes are more disillusioned with the tax system, are more hostile and resistant toward the ATO, and are more likely to resent paying tax as a result.

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Kristina MURPHY
Kristina is at the Centre for Tax System Integrity, Australian National University.
Current at 13 January 2005
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