Still no tax reform

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Well, once again Peter Costello has failed to deliver any significant tax reform. Why? Well, read on.


Tax reform is not about tweaking parameters to the system, such as the income tax rates, or even about abolishing or introducing taxes (such as the GST – which was a big change, after all).

Tax reform should be about simplifying the tax code. The tax code is too complex – with over 9,500 pages even without things like the Family Tax Benefit (which is actually a social security program). Tax reform should be measured by how many pages the tax code is shrunk by over all. A simpler tax system would be fairer largely because it would be understandable, people would know how the tax burden is distributed, and it would be harder to drive through loopholes in the system. With these conditions in place, it would be easier to engage people in fundamental questions such as: should we have income tax? Is capital gains tax appropriate? Why are savings taxed?

Not one budget that has been introduced by Costello has shrunk the tax code. Every single one has increased it, with the biggest one being the introduction of the GST. Go figure.

Author: Robert Watkins

My name is Robert Watkins. I am a software developer and have been for over 18 years now. I currently work for people, but my opinions here are in no way endorsed by them (which is cool; their opinions aren’t endorsed by me either). My main professional interests are in Java development, using Agile methods, with a historical focus on building web based applications. I’m also a Mac-fan and love my iPhone, which I’m currently learning how to code for. I live and work in Brisbane, Australia, but I grew up in the Northern Territory, and still find Brisbane too cold (after 16 years here). I’m married, with two children and one cat. My politics are socialist in tendency, my religious affiliation is atheist (aka “none of the above”), my attitude is condescending and my moral standing is lying down.

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