Your shopping cart is empty

Building a case for change: The Tax Institute drives reform agenda at upcoming summit event

Publication date: 14 Sep 20 | Source: THE TAX INSTITUTE

SYDNEY, 14 September 2020: As Australia’s leading membership body for the tax profession, The Tax Institute is leading the charge in building a case to implement well overdue tax reform.

“The Tax Institute is in a unique position to drive forward the national tax reform agenda. Our members and our vast volunteer network are some of the sharpest minds in tax today. We have also reached out to and been approached by other like-minded bodies that share the desire to see real tax reform. This truly is a profession-wide movement for change,” said The Tax Institute CEO, Giles Hurst.

“The Tax Institute’s case for change will span all levels of the profession and delve into the core of issues facing us today. Ultimately, our goal is to place our tax system on the stable footing required to strengthen our economy and make our future brighter.”

Tax reform in Australia has been a long time coming. In recent memory, Australia has seen the Asprey Report in 1975, Reform of the Australian Taxation System (RATS) in 1985, Fightback! in 1992, A New Tax System (ANTS) in 2000 and Re:think in 2015. In 2009, the Henry Review delivered 138 recommendations for tax reform – five were actioned and all five were later modified or repealed.

“Meaningful, lasting tax reform is no easy task, as evidenced by our long history of reviews and reports that have been largely ignored or fallen short of true change. Almost every decade since Federation, there have been enquiries of some sort into our tax system. While many have failed, the few successful ones have been truly whole of system reforms not just piecemeal changes,” said The Tax Institute Director, Tax Policy and Technical, Andrew Mills CTA (Life).

“A whole of system approach is what is needed: there has never been a time when reform was more necessary than it is now. The Tax Summit: Project Reform, will define the kind of change that will overhaul our outdated tax system.”

The health, social and economic shockwaves of the COVID-19 pandemic have stressed the importance of a system that works and that supports recovery in all aspects. Part of an economic recovery for our country, must be a robust, fair and adaptable tax system.

The Tax Summit: Project Reform, is an ambitious endeavour from The Tax Institute, aiming to bring voices from across the profession together over the next 3 months to create a blueprint for a new tax system.

Incorporating a series of events, discussion groups and round tables, that culminate in a summit event in November 2020, the program will feature experts in various specialties from across the tax ecosystem.

The program features a lineup of keynote speakers including Australia’s longest serving Treasurer, Peter Costello; Grattan Institute CEO, Danielle Wood; Chair of the Board of Taxation, Rosheen Garnon; and author, demographer, and columnist Bernard Salt.

In the first keynote address linked with The Tax Summit: Project Reform, Dr John Hewson recently outlined the need and opportunity in a post COVID-19 world for meaningful change across the tax system. This includes “genuine broad base reform” of the GST.

The insights gleaned from this collaborative program will fuel the discussion and shape a formal case for change that will be showcased at the summit in November and submitted to the Treasury at close of consultation.

“To be effective, tax reform must be holistic – nothing is off the table at The Tax Summit: Project Reform,” Mills said.

Further commentary from The Tax Institute

Andrew Mills CTA (Life), Director, Tax Policy and Technical

“Tax Institute technical committees have been marshalling to identify the issues that plague our current tax system and consider how it can be improved. They have been asked to “think big” - to consider not only the day-to-day issues challenging tax practitioners but to ask why those problems exist, how do they manifest and what “out of the box” thinking might enable meaningful reform.”

“We will be using those tried and tested criteria of simplicity, efficiency and fairness, together with the objectives of promoting growth and jobs, as the guideposts for the work that we do as part of Project Reform.”

Robyn Jacobson CTA, Senior Advocate

“In the last two decades, the chorus of voices championing improvements to our tax system has only amplified. Previous tax reform made some inroads, but our tax system has been creaking under its own weight for far too long. The COVID-19 pandemic has thrown into sharp relief just how necessary an agile and responsive tax system is – but that’s not the tax system we currently have.”

“Tax reform isn’t something you can approach half-heartedly. Amending elements of the law to simplify and improve it is commendable, but it simply isn’t enough in today’s world. Only with courage, collaboration and a willingness to change our collective mindset can we truly reform our tax law.”

For more information, please contact:
Kelly Emmerton – Media Contact, The Tax Institute
02 8223 0029

The Tax Institute is the leading forum for the tax community in Australia. Our reach includes membership of 12,000 tax professionals from commerce and industry, academia, government and public practice and 40,000 Australian business leaders, government employees and students. We are committed to representing our members, shaping the future of the tax profession and continuous improvement of the tax system for the benefit of all, through the advancement of knowledge, member support and advocacy. Read more at