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Tax Institute vows to continue tax reform commission push

Publication date: 05 Oct 11 | Source: THE TAX INSTITUTE

The Tax Institute will continue to urge the Federal Government to establish an independent Taxation Reform Commission following this week’s Tax Forum.

The proposal was part of The Tax Institute’s submission to the Forum and was raised repeatedly on the floor during discussions.

“While we appreciate current budget constraints, we urge the Government to demonstrate ongoing commitment to the vision provided by the Henry Review and lay out a clear blueprint for reform” said Tax Institute Senior Counsel Robert Jeremenko.

“A broadly-constituted, Tax Reform Commission, taking its initial lead from the policy priorities identified in the Forum would fill this role.

“The Commission ought to have a clear remit to consult widely on reform proposals, commission research, conduct modelling and provide advice to all levels of government in relation to implementation of reform proposals.

“The Commission should draw a range of members with varying expertise from the community and business sectors as well as from the three tiers of government.

“It would ensure the momentum of reform continues and delivers a roadmap for the way forward.”

Mr Jeremenko said that while the Tax Forum generated fruitful discussions, follow-up work is essential.

To this end we welcome the Government’s $1 million per year commitment to fund a tax research centre for excellence. This commitment is a positive step towards furthering necessary tax research.

We are also encouraged by the Government’s positive step towards progressing business tax reform by announcing the formation of the Business Tax Reform Working Group.

However, the narrow focus of the two-day Tax Forum was a disappointment that was only partly offset by consensus on a handful of issues.

“These include harmonisation of state taxes,” Mr Jeremenko said.

“However, focus on harmonisation is a lazy option that’s no substitute for abolition of these inefficient imposts that are currently impeding investment and growth.

“We will continue to push for both discussion about the GST and reform of inefficient state taxes.”

Mr Jeremenko said meaningful discussion of the GST was still the glaring omission from the Forum.

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 contact: Robert Jeremenko, Senior Tax Counsel, The Tax Institute, T: 02 8223 0011, M: 0468 987 300
Craig Regan, Lighthouse Communications Group, T: 02 9262 3868, M: 0408 448 527.