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Australian Tax Forum is a prestigious quarterly journal with the objective of providing discussion on issues in tax policy, law and reform amongst tax professionals.

It is an essential reference source for understanding and contributing to the development of taxation systems worldwide. Australian Tax Forum is aimed at those who want to influence the future development of tax policy. It is an important journal for tax policy makers, academics and libraries.

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Articles from the current issue:

  • Tax and the environment: An evaluation framework for tax policy reform - Group Delphi study

    shopping_cart Add to cart 01 Feb 2017

    This paper reports on the Delphi Study undertaken by the authors in the development of a tax policy analysis framework that can be utilised to evaluate the effectiveness of Environmental Tax Measures (ETMs), building that framework from a critical assessment of the menu of factors advanced as possibilities in the prior literature. The ETMs are more commonly referred to as tax concessions or subsidies and are a form of tax expenditure used by governments to intervene in markets and influence the behaviour of particular taxpayers or industries. Such concessions need to be evaluated to assess their efficiency and effectiveness among other criteria.

    The Delphi Study was undertaken by bringing together an international group of expert environmental taxation scholars (the Reference Group) to participate in a Roundtable held during the 16th Global Conference on Environmental Taxation at UTS in September 2015. This is a variation on the Group Delphi method. While the Delphi method is traditionally based on anonymity, the Group Delphi assembles the expert panel to take part in a structured communication process using rotating subgroups to address the relevant questionnaire(s) (applying Likert scaling) and open questions, building consensus and defining disagreement by employing plenary discussions between iterations to foster peer review.

  • Will cars go green under the ACT’s reformed vehicle purchase tax?

    shopping_cart Add to cart 01 Feb 2017

    This article revisits the Australian Tax Forum research article, “Will cars go green in the ACT?” (2015). The Australian Capital Territory was the first jurisdiction in Australia to reform its vehicle purchase tax/duty on the basis of new vehicles’ “environmental performance”, in what was known as the Green Vehicle Duty Scheme (GVDS). The analysis of that tax instrument in 2015 concluded that it was not environmentally effective in influencing car purchasing trends towards lower CO2-emitting vehicles. A later reform of the GVDS, reflecting the federal government’s “Green Vehicle Guide”, replaces the GVDS with a new instrument, the Vehicle Emission Reduction Scheme (VERS), which commenced on 29 June 2015.1

    This article considers whether the VERS instrument might usefully be adopted by other state and territory governments to improve fuel efficiency and reduce CO2 emission from light vehicles. It concludes that the tax design and price signal reforms set out in the VERS do not promote environmental performance better than its predecessor GVDS.

  • Sustainably funding transportation infrastructure: Tax fuel or miles?

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    The United States faces an infrastructure crisis. The United States has funded its transportation system with a dedicated tax on gasoline, which has not been increased for over two decades. The funding structure for highways and transit is not working for today’s transportation needs. As motor vehicles have become more efficient, they use less fuel, which means less revenue for the transportation system. This revenue shortfall leads to consideration of a tax shift from fuel taxes to vehicle miles travelled taxes. A shift from taxing fuel to taxing miles travelled creates many policy implications, including whether replacing fuel taxes with vehicle miles travelled taxes would encourage the use of less fuel efficient vehicles, with a resulting negative impact on the environment. This article considers the benefits and detriments of the different funding approaches for transportation needs.

  • Is there a role for tax incentives for the protection of freshwater resilience?

    shopping_cart Add to cart 01 Feb 2017

    The planet is facing unprecedented growth in population, energy demands and water usage, all of which significantly impact one another. This article highlights a research study undertaken to explore the role of tax incentives for innovation for freshwater protection in this “water-energy nexus”. The study looked at the impact of the unconventional natural gas industry (in Alberta, Canada) on freshwater sources — particularly aquifers.

    The current regulatory structure of command and control (CAC) directives was examined and compared to a policy framework inclusive of CAC, market incentives and stakeholder engagement. The study concluded with the recommendation that a framework for the management of groundwater resilience is necessary to recognise the temporal and spatial differences between economic and ecological systems, and to protect the finite supply of freshwater.

  • Chinese tax policy and the promotion of agricultural cooperatives and environmental protection

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    China’s remarkable economic growth over the past 35 years has come at a cost, not least being a significant deterioration in its natural environment. Chinese authorities have responded to this challenge with a range of measures including the imposition of specifically targeted environmental imposts on business enterprises. In addition, the Chinese central government recently introduced a broader draft environmental tax law directed at air, water, noise and solid waste pollution.

    At the same time, China has been pursuing a separate policy of encouraging the development of agricultural cooperatives. Cooperatives of all types play an important part in China’s economic and social development but agricultural cooperatives have a particular importance given their role in assuring a stable food supply. They bring benefits in the form of economic stimulation, social cohesion and increased productivity. The Chinese central government, recognizing the importance of these benefits, has provided incentives to the development of cooperatives, specifically exemptions from VAT and stamp duty. Local overnments in their turn have provided incentives, notably exemptions from a range of taxes including land use tax, business
    tax and tax registration fees.

    This paper examines the extent to which Chinese cooperative enterprises - and agricultural cooperatives in particular – can and should be subjected to environmental imposts and how the two policy goals of environmental protection and the promotion of agricultural cooperatives can best be aligned to best ensure positive outcomes for both.

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