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Tax reform

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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".
Then NSW treasurer and now Premier Mike Baird, shaking hands in 2013 to mark the handover of Port Botany under a 99-year lease – the same period as has been proposed to lease state electricity assets to private operators. Dan Himbrechts/AAP

NSW can pay for the infrastructure it needs without privatisation

Privatising public assets is like a tradesperson selling her or his tools when facing a temporary income shortfall. Much better to borrow at low interest rates and productively invest those funds.
The Australian community has been involved in many discussions about tax in the past, and now it’s time for some new decisions. Image sourced from

It’s time to choose what kind of tax system we want

Five years on from the Henry Tax Review tax reform is upon us again, and this time Australia must plan for the future.
Pressure is growing on Apple to pay more tax in Australia. Justin Lane/EPA/AAP

Without US support, multinational tax crackdowns will fail

It’s no secret that companies including Apple, Google, Amazon, Uber, Airbnb and Ikea seem to pay less than their fair share of tax in Australia. Despite booking huge revenues from sales to Australian customers…
Closing the thousands of loopholes that riddle the US tax code is a rare area of bipartisan agreement in Congress. So why is it so hard to end them? Shutterstock

Tax loopholes draw bi-party fire but don’t expect them to vanish

The thousands of tax loopholes that litter the corporate tax code in the United States are frequent targets of criticism from both Democrats and Republicans. Outgoing Republican Senator Tom Coburn released…
Treasurer Joe Hockey is expected to report this month that the budget balance is deteriorating in his mid-year economic and fiscal outlook. Alan Porritt/AAP

Australia needs higher taxes, not spending cuts

The federal budget balance is expected to deteriorate. The reasons are numerous but, in a lengthy statement, the government sums it up in terms of two key factors. These are: the softer economic outlook…
Kansas Governor Sam Brownback was re-elected despite a tight fight over his tax cuts and resulting deficit, which were revealed to be worse than expected just days after the election. Reuters

Brownback’s Kansas tax experiment may prove death knell for corporate reform

Republican gains in this month’s election, which handed the GOP united control of Congress for the first time since 2006, have lifted hopes that the government can pass corporate tax reform next year…
Are the right people at the table to ensure global tax reform benefits everyone? Gates Foundation/Flickr

Developing nations need more than words from G20 tax reform

Tax reform is squarely on the agenda for the G20 Brisbane summit in November. The current international tax regime is broken and it’s going to take significant effort on a global scale to fix it. In a…
The Palmer United Party, including new Senator Jacqui Lambie, is unlikely to support unpopular but necessary tax reform. Lukas Coch/AAP

The new Senate looms as a disaster for tax reform

It’s unlikely “The Political Sayings of Malcolm Fraser” is a well-thumbed volume in Tony Abbott’s library. Yet this week, in the wake of the Senate throwing his government’s budget plans into disarray…
Go on Joe, raise the GST. Daniel Munoz/AAP

Raise the GST: the conversation we have to have?

With eight months left on his contract, Treasury Secretary Martin Parkinson decided to jump into the GST debate on Wednesday night. In a speech to the Sydney Institute, Parkinson declared the federal budget…
Resource tax reform could solve the problem of an ageing population. But is the current government brave enough to do it? Sourced from

Ageing population and mining: a tale of two booms

In an unusual move, Mission Australia and the Business Council of Australia recently co-authored a piece calling for a mature and open conversation about tax reform. They join a chorus of voices, from…
There is an argument that government spending can create economic growth the private sector won’t provide. Image sourced from

Putting the cart before the horse in the debate over fiscal policy

The economic debate during the election period has centred on the costings of the proposed policies of the major parties. Unfortunately what little “debate” we’ve seen has become a bit like a black hole…
The 2013 G20 Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governor’s Meeting in Moscow resulted in a global roadmap to help combat corporate tax evasion. AAP

What does the G20 actually do?

Presumably, you have now read all about what on earth the G20 is, and you care deeply. But what does it actually do? The aim of the G20 is clear. The 2009 G20 Framework for Strong, Sustainable, and Balanced…
Small tax, or Big Picture? Labor wants to be seen as low taxing, but are actually big spending reformists. AAP

Has Labor’s tax aversion left them on the verge of electoral defeat?

Regardless of the result of the next election, the ALP will hold an inquiry into what went wrong. How on earth, they will ask, could a government presiding over low unemployment, low inflation, low levels…
The kind of tax reform being called for by groups such as the Business Council of Australia can only come about if politics and vested interests are put aside.

Meaningful tax reform? Only if everything is on the table

There can be no dispute with last week’s call from the Business Council of Australia for meaningful tax reform. This is a larger issue than both the looming budget and September’s election. However, it…
If petrol prices are relatively low, why worry about burning the stuff? David Neubert

Gas guzzlers fuelled by shrinking petrol tax

An iron law of economics is that people respond to incentives. If the petrol price goes up, it should be of little surprise that consumers alter their choices at both the petrol pump and the car dealership…
The case for significant, productivity-enhancing tax reform has been made by the Henry Review - but the challenge will be for meaningful reform not to swallowed by pre-election noise. AAP

Chance for meaningful tax reform recedes in looming election hue and cry

Reform of Australia’s taxation system has to be high on the agenda to raise national productivity, for greater simplicity, and to improve equity. However, because of the magnitude of the challenges to…
Re-run: if the US fiscal cliff has the same feel as last year’s debt ceiling crisis, we’re not surprised…

2012, the year that was: Business and Economy

Different year, same crisis. Around this time last year, the United States was looking down the barrel of economic disaster with the debt ceiling. As we approach 2013, it peers over the fiscal cliff. That…
Billionaire US investor Warren Buffett pays less tax than his secretary - but Australia has its own anomalies. AAP

Is it time for Australia to tackle its Warren Buffett-style tax anomalies?

In his 2012 State of the Union address US President Barack Obama lamented the fact that billionaire Warren Buffett faces a lower tax rate on his income than his secretary. The situation arises because…

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