Simplifying Australia's Tax System

Monday, 19 September 2011  Features

Australia has more than 100 taxes, some of the most complex in the world. Professor Chris Evans from the Australian School of Taxation and Business Law​ will lead a team of academics in a research project to investigate ways to reduce the complexity of Australia's tax system.

The project "Assessing and addressing tax system complexity", which has received a $150,000 ARC Linkage Grant, responds to calls for fresh empirical research to underpin efforts to simplify the tax system.

The team of academics, including Dr Binh Tran-Nam from UNSW and colleagues from Monash, Curtin and University of Tasmania, will work with The Institute of Chartered Accountants in Australia and its members to explore the causes, indicators, costs and effects of tax system complexity, and to identify and evaluate means through which the complexity can be reduced and monitored.

Professor Chris Evans says the project will have a significant impact, "It will seek to identify the key factors underpinning tax system complexity, measure the costs it imposes upon taxpayers, and develop complexity indices that can test new policy measures and monitor improvements.

"Reducing tax system complexity will improve government, business and personal productivity, increase compliance and improve interaction between tax agencies, practitioners and taxpayers. The comprehensive business and personal indices of tax system complexity that the project will produce will be a world first," he said. Professor Evans is one of the invited tax academics attending the government’s Tax Forum, being held in Canberra on 4 and 5 October.

For further details, contact Professor Chris Evans on 02 9385 9546