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Introducing a so-called ‘Netflix" tax in Australia makes sense. AAP/NewZulu/Richard Goldschmidt

The “Netflix tax” - coming to a country near you

The arrival of Netflix in Australia has brought into sharp relief the GST base erosion problem caused by global digital commerce. Along with the non-taxation of low-value imported goods, the absence of…
The Commonwealth appear to hold the aces when it comes to state-federal funding, but the states have cards to play. AAP/Stefan Postles

Time for states to change the script over GST gains

The stoush over GST redistribution followed a predictable script of squabbling between states; but now is the time for an alternative agenda.
Western Australian Premier Colin Barnett has not responded happily to hints by federal government ministers that his state must privatise assets if they want a larger slice of the GST pie. AAP Image/Sarah Motherwell

Federalism the loser as Hockey ransoms GST to push WA reforms

Western Australia should not be bullied into microeconomic reform and privatisation by the federal government while their slice of the GST is held to ransom.
Fresh fruit and vegetables are currently exempt from GST for equity reasons, but it’s time for a rethink. Dean Lewins/AAP

Broader base, not a higher rate the answer for GST reform

Simply increasing the GST rate would make for poor tax design. Instead, the government should broaden the base and lock in compensation measures.
Treasurer Joe Hockey is likely to have an easier time selling a package of tax reforms rather than individual changes. Tracey Nearmy/AAP

How increasing the GST could boost our standard of living

Changing the GST in isolation would create serious problems, but increasing it alongside other reforms could have a major upside.
Treasurer Joe Hockey said that Australia’s heavy reliance on income taxes ‘may be unsustainable’. AAP/Mick Tsikas

Tax paper shows bracket creep is stalking Australian taxpayers

The government's long awaited tax discussion paper says Australia has a relatively low tax burden compared to other developed countries but its system faces "challenges from a changing world".
Can everyone be a winner from comprehensive tax reform? Image sourced from Shutterstock.com

Tax reform - can we ALL win?

Just what are the issues we need to watch when it comes to tax reform? Read this explainer.
Political, not legal hurdles, stand in the way of the Australian Prime Minister increasing the GST. Lukas Coch/AAP

Why the Commonwealth can change the GST without the states

Under Australian law, changes to the GST are said to be not permitted unless the states agree to the changes. In reality, the GST lock-in mechanism is legally meaningless and unenforceable, though it may…
History tells us it’s better for countries to get their GST right to start with, rather than try to broaden the base later. Natalie Boog/AAP

What can other countries teach us about GST reform?

Value added tax (VAT), virtually non-existent before 1960, has been the predominant form of consumption tax since the mid-1980s. Given that more than 160 countries now have a VAT, it is hardly surprising…
Many stubbornly believe a bigger pot of GST revenues, like the magic pudding, will regenerate. PeraCultured/Flickr

Selling a GST rise will be easier if we can follow the money

Australia’s latest GST debate may be the political version of The Magic Pudding. We stubbornly believe that a bigger pot of GST revenues will regenerate – in whatever flavour is desired – like Alfred the…
Shifting the tax burden to wage earners in the middle is a costly and outdated approach to tax reform. Dave Hunt/AAP

Expanding the GST would hit the ‘middle’ and women the hardest

Many developed economies have experienced a significant increase in inequality in recent decades. Survey data for Australia show that the share of the top 10% of the income distribution, and more markedly…
Australia’s GST is considered a regressive tax, so the idea of extending it to fresh food is considered unfair. A more detailed analysis reveals it’s not that simple. Charlotte90T/Flickr

Making the case for GST on fresh food

With the federal government’s review of taxation about to get underway, many are expecting Australia’s Goods and Services Tax to be up for change. In this GST series we take a closer look at the evidence…
The first incarnation of the now-gone mining tax focused on economic rent. Is targeting powerful rent seekers too hard? AAP/Kim Christian

How’s this for fundamental tax reform? Target the rentseekers

Tax is back in the spotlight with coalition MPs and the Australia Institute talking about getting rid of some of the exemptions to the GST. There has also been a lot of talk about whether or not corporate…

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