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Promoting smart travel through tax policy


This article discusses the need for the Australian Government to explore smart commuting policies due to the impact of using passenger motor vehicles on negative transport externalities, such as congestion, greenhouse gas emissions, health and safety, energy security and economic prosperity. The lack of tax incentives and the convenience of parking facilities provided by employers are barriers to the adoption of travel smart choices. This article explores the tax constraints that hinder smart commuting and examines how a subsidy for smart commuting can be provided through tax policy changes, especially the fringe benefits tax. In the authors’ opinion, the Australian Government should follow the example of other countries that are using taxation as a tool to promote alternative travelling initiatives, such as the transit program in the United States, the Cycle to Work Alliance in the United Kingdom, and the income tax exemption in Ireland.

Author profiles

Prafula Pearce CTA
Prafula is a Senior Lecturer at the Curtin Law School, Department of Business Law, Curtin University, where she has been lecturing since 1996, having previously worked 20 years in the tax profession in Australia and the United Kingdom. Her teaching and research interests are broadly in taxation law, including tax policy and corporations law. She has published widely in many areas of taxation, both nationally and internationally. Her current interest lies in environmental taxation relating to passenger motor vehicles and oil, the area of her PhD thesis entitled, Using tax and regulatory measures to reform choice and usage of motor vehicles for personal transportation in Australia for the sustainability of oil. - Current at 29 May 2019
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Dr Helen Hodgson CTA
Helen joined Curtin Law School as an Associate Professor in 2014, following 10 years teaching in the Atax programme at UNSW. Helen has a particular interest in tax policy, and was a participant at the 2010 Tax Forum. Her current area of research is the tax-transfer system, but she also researches in superannuation, and the gender impacts of the tax-transfer system. In 2010, Helen was a co-author of the Women's Voices Report commissioned by the Equality Rights Alliance to examine factors influencing women's workforce participation, including superannuation, tax and transfer issues. Helen holds qualifications in accounting, business law and taxation, and is a Fellow of the Australian Society of Certified Practising Accountants. - Current at 08 July 2019
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