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Government must use tax forum to analyse carbon tax details

Publication date: 10 Jul 11 | Source: THE TAX INSTITUTE

The Federal Government should double the duration of its planned two-day Tax Forum and put implementation of its proposed carbon tax at the top of the agenda The Tax Institute said today.

"Following today’s release of details of the carbon tax policy we’ve seen the framework – it’s now time to involve tax experts in probing the finer detail, especially relating to design, implementation and administration," said the Tax Institute’s Senior Tax Counsel, Robert Jeremenko.

"The proposed carbon tax and emissions trading scheme must complement the existing tax system and not increase compliance costs, impede efficiency or add substantially to the overall tax burden.

"Efficiency, equity and simplicity must be the goals of any tax system.

"Now is the time for meaningful consultation and engagement with tax professionals.

"It’s time for the Government to engage tax experts and the October Tax Forum would be the ideal vehicle," Mr Jeremenko said.

"Carbon tax should be at the top of the agenda at an extended Tax Forum.

"It’s vital that tax professionals are given the job of working on the implementation fine print in advance, so we can come up with appropriate outcomes."

Mr Jeremenko said today’s policy announcement was broadly in line with principles raised in the Henry Review of the Australian tax system which said the quality of the environment was critical to the nation’s wellbeing.

"The Henry Tax Review found that environmental taxes could be an effective mechanism to reduce pollution or consumption of a natural resource," Mr Jeremenko said.

"The Henry Review also made the point that while corrective taxes like this can be effective, they can also be difficult to design and implement."

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The Tax Institute is the country’s leading professional association in tax. Its 13,000 members include tax agents, accountants and lawyers as well as tax practitioners in corporations, government and academia. The Tax Institute supports the tax profession and its members by holding more than 350 tax events each year. It conducts educational courses, develops publications, maintains an online information resource and provides a comprehensive tax library and research service. It works to continually improve tax law and its administration.

For more information: Robert Jeremenko, Senior Tax Counsel, The Tax Institute, 0468 987 300 or Craig Regan, Lighthouse Communications, 0408 448 527.