Miscellaneous 2018

Sugar taxes viewed through the lens of the New Zealand Treasury Living Standards Framework

Source: Australian Tax Forum Journal Article

Published Date: 1 Sep 2018


The sugar tax debate is showing no sign of weakening. There are two opposing views, which are perhaps best represented by the ideologies of the health profession and the food and beverage industry. The former strongly advocates in favour of a sugar tax using population health to support their position. The latter uses individual choice and paternalism to argue against implementation of sugar taxes.

This study examines a related component of the sugar tax problem, which is how we evaluate such a tax. An alternative theoretical framework, the New Zealand Treasury Living Standards Framework, which has a corrective rather than a revenue generation objective, is used to assess the sugar tax for consideration of a different, perhaps more relevant, criteria for tax.

The study concludes that there is value in using alternative frameworks when evaluating non-traditional taxes. A framework that facilitates inclusion of a wide range of wellbeing measures is particularly relevant for a tax that has multiple objectives. However, the traditional tax policy criteria remain a valuable component of the tax policy evaluation toolkit.

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Miscellaneous 2018

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