Miscellaneous 2016

A case for statutory simplification

Source: The Tax Specialist Journal Article

Published Date: 1 Feb 2016


Although often quoted as one of the most sought-after goals, tax simplification is the least-observed objective of tax policy. Is focusing on the narrower concept of statutory simplicity/complexity a more achievable task? This article discusses statutory complexity as a type of tax complexity in tax systems. It explains the concept, its causes and effects, and whether it can be measured. It considers what would be an acceptable level of statutory complexity, trade-offs with other tax policy objectives, and the likely target audience of tax laws.

Simplification initiatives undertaken in Australia will then be discussed. Finally, the likely future for statutory simplification in Australian tax laws will be considered. The article argues that simplification attempts have produced mixed results to date, and its impact on reducing statutory complexity limited. Nevertheless, statutory simplification should continue, especially in respect of initiatives that will not involve trade-offs with equity and/or efficiency.

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  • Published By: Cindy Chan
  • Published On:1 Feb 2016

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Miscellaneous 2016

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