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Theories of modern tax reformers


The most recent Australian tax review, the Henry Review, is the latest in a long line of Australian tax reform projects. It will not be the last. The purpose of this article is to place the Henry Review and the forthcoming Tax Forum in the context of recent trends in tax policy analysis. The theory of tax design has changed, which means that the modern vision about what a tax system should look like is no longer what we had been led to believe. One object of this article is to recount this change in philosophy. A second is to show where it can lead.

The article examines previous assumptions about good tax design, the influence of welfare economics and the optimal tax literature on current thinking, and the most popular models of corporate tax reform.

Author profile

Prof Graeme Cooper CTA
Photo of author, Graeme COOPER Graeme is Professor of Taxation Law at the University of Sydney and a consultant to Greenwoods & Herbert Smith Freehills. He is a former Chair of the New South Wales State Council of The Tax Institute and former member of the National Council. He has worked as a consultant to the ATO, Treasury, Board of Taxation, United Nations, OECD, World Bank, the International Monetary Fund and several foreign governments. He was admitted to legal practice in New South Wales and Victoria, and practised commercial law and tax in Sydney before entering teaching. He has taught in law schools in Australia, Europe and the United States, and holds degrees from the University of Sydney, University of Illinois and Columbia University, New York. - Current at 12 January 2018
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