Henry Review 2011

Not for profit income tax exemption: Is there a hole in the bucket, dear Henry?

Source: Australian Tax Forum Journal Article

Published Date: 1 Dec 2011


Australia’s Future Tax System Review, headed by the then head of the Australian Treasury, and the Productivity Commission’s Research Report on the not for profit sector, both examined the state of tax concessions to Australia’s not for profit sector in the light of the High Court’s decision in Commissioner of Taxation v Word Investments Ltd. Despite being unable to quantify with any certainty the pre- or post-Word Investments cost of the tax concessions, both Reports indicated their support for continuation of the income tax exemption. However, the government acted in the 2011 Budget to target the not for profit income tax concessions more precisely, mainly on competitive neutrality grounds.

This article examines the income tax exemption by applying the five taxation design principles, proposed in the Australia’s Future Tax System Review, for assessing tax expenditure. The conclusion is that the exemptions can be justified and, further, that a rationale for the exemption can be consistent with the reasoning in the Word Investments case.

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Henry Review 2011

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