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Australian Tax Research Foundation (ATRF) materials

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Making a valuable contribution to the understanding and improvement of Australia's taxation system, the ATRF commissions research, organises conferences and seminars and subsequently publishes numerous papers and articles, the Foundation is instrumental in building an intellectual reservoir of tax reform proposals with the hope of creating a "tax vision" for Australia.

ATRF materials are now available from the Tax Knowledge eXchange for subscribers taking our Online Research option, or may be purchased on an individual basis. Find out more.

  • Tax value method: Consultative conference paper

    This volume includes papers presented at a Consultative Conference on the Tax Value Method held on 23-24 July 2001 in Sydney. The conference was organised by the Australian Taxation Studies Program (ATAX) at the University of New South Wales and sponsored by the Board of Taxation.

    This conference volume reports on the debate at a crucial stage in the public consultation process in Australia over the introduction of the Tax Value Method of measuring income for businesses. The papers discuss all aspects on the issue of how business income should and could be measured as well as issues of simplicity and administratie feasibility.

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  • State and local taxes in Australia: Towards sustainability paper

    This study examines the extent to which state and local government taxes and charges in Australia (using NSW as a principal case study) are compatible with principles of sustainability.

    The project focussed on determining what possible changes could be made in the type and extent of state and local charges, which could improve the compatibility with principles of sustainability.

    The relationship of State taxes to Commonwealth taxation was also analysed. The kinds of taxes and charges examined related to resource use (eg water charges) and waste generation (solid waste generation,landfill and effluent), sustainable transport and land use (eg land tax, betterment tax).

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  • The impact of the GST package on Commonwealth-State relations paper

    The Federal Government’s GST package involved major reform of financial relations between the Commonwealth and the States. It included earmarking of all GST revenue for the States and distribution of that revenue on fiscal equalisation principles. Other provisions included abolition of Financial Assistance Grants to the States, the wholesale sales tax and selected State taxes.

    This monograph provides comprehensive analysis of the impact of the full GST package on Australian federal financial relations and proposes measures by which the package could be improved.

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  • Compliance cost control: A review of tax impact statements in the OECD paper

    This report examines the extent to which OECD members use taxation impact statements as part of the process of developing tax policies and legislation. Tax impact statements are attempts to provide, monitor and control the compliance costs impact of tax changes. The report also evaluates the effectiveness of such statements where they are used in the OECD, and assesses the role in the Australian context. The report presents the results from an in -depth survey of OECD members and their satisfaction with the use of taxation impact statements.

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  • Taxing cars: Fleecing the fleet or subsidising smog? paper

    This paper deals with the Australian approach to taxing vehicle ownership. The paper poses three questions. Firstly, are motorists lightly or heavily taxed? Secondly, should they be heavily taxed? Thirdly, what is the appropriate balance between taxes on vehicle ownership and use? The paper
    considers changes to existing tax design and also describes and assesses the merits of electronic road pricing. Both options might be used to increase the geographic differentiation of road use charges, and electronic road pricing could be used to introduced time of day variations. Existing taxes on vehicle ownership and used should be viewed first as charges then, if relevant, excess taxes. Much public policy debate on this area of tax in Australia has failed to recognise that, from an economic efficiency perspective theories a right level of the charge component.

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  • State taxation: Repeal, reform or resignation? paper

    States on their own admission, imposed a grab bag of taxes which are more often than not, inefficient and inequitable. Moreover, these taxes are inadequate to meet the revenue needs of the States that have long articulated the case for greater financial autonomy. This volume reports on a one-day symposium which was designed to provide a forum for firmly placing State tax issues on the tax reform agenda prior to the release of the Federal governments tax reform proposals in August 1998.

    The general consensus was that income tax base sharing was the preferred option for State governments. However, while this option did not find favour in the Federal Government's ANTS package of tax reforms, what was still largely left unresolved was the need for and direction of major
    indirect tax reform at the State level. This study provides a highly relevant overview of the limitations of current State taxation, even after the States acquire the revenue from the proposed GST.

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  • Gambling taxation in Australia paper

    In recent years, there has been rising public concern at links between the growth of gambling and government gambling taxation. This paper sets out to critically review gambling taxation in Australia, in the context of Federal-State financial relations and tax policy debate. It examines the level, pattern
    and trend of gambling taxation in Australia, and assesses current gaming taxes against the conventional revenue, distributional, and efficiency objectives of taxation. It also considers potential negative effects of these receipts, and the revenue cost of gambling tax concessions and subsidies. It then assesses the overall cost and benefits of State governments relying on gambling revenues as a taxation strategy.

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  • Tax facts and tax reform paper

    Any debate over the merits of different tax systems and various reform options is typically highly controversial and it is not surprising that an unanimity of views is really achieved. This report is structured in such a way as to inform the reader about a broad range of tax issues by presenting then with the tax facts. With these facts, we hope the reader will gain an insight into the operation of the Australian tax system that will enable them to make an informed decision about the future direction of tax reform in Australia.

    This report begins by reviewing the Australian tax system in an international context and seeing how it fares. Also, the focus on the issues that have pushed tax reform back on the political agenda at both the Commonwealth and State levels of government in Australia. The report then proceeds to work its way through a number of important issues that have been the subject of particular debate. While most attention is given to Commonwealth taxes, some attention is given to particular State taxes, especially the payroll tax.

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  • Fringe benefits tax: Time for a rethink paper

    Is the present Australian tax treatment of fringe benefits appropriate? Should they be a separate fringe benefits tax system, focused on employers, alongside the PAYE/personal income tax system, rather than a single system taxing cash and other forms of income in the same way? Is the status quo too costly in terms of administration and compliance costs?.

    The broad conclusion of this report is that there are strong grounds for moving away from the present FBTsystem, which was initially introduced as a transitional means of taxing fringe benefits, towards integration of the taxation of fringe benefits into the PAYE/personal income tax system. The present FBT system is complex, costly with which to comply, hated by employers, and frequently and unfair as between different employees.

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  • Understanding consumption taxes paper

    While everyone pays taxes, not everyone understands why and how they come to be borne by them. There is no doubt though that the tax induced pain in the hip pocket nerve makes everyone take a personal interest in taxes imposed on them. What this report seeks to do is to provide a new impartial source of information on the need for the reform of consumption taxes in Australia.

    This publication is easily read and highly accessible to those unfamiliar with the case for and designed off consumption taxes around the world.

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