About The Tax Reformer

Tax is the most intrusive function of government into the lives of every person or entity in any community. Everyone agrees with that statement – intrusive but essential.

But the problem is that in Australia, we have (apart from local government) nine taxing authorities. Leave Commonwealth taxes out (essentially a different base) for the moment and there are then eight authorities whose tax base is much the same. Yet those taxes are so different in so many ways that to conclude that a transaction affecting many or all of the other jurisdictions which is taxed in a particular manner in one jurisdiction will be taxed the same in one or all of the other jurisdictions is a grave and costly mistake.

And then there is the different practices in each jurisdiction. Many of those practices are shrouded in secrecy. Taxpayers get ambushed when assessment time comes. In some jurisdictions, there is a distinct whiff of a culture of authoritarianism in tax administration.

Yes, there is some commonality but that is as much you can say. Taxpayers must be provided with some certainty to their particular situation. This is a fundamental of the rule of law. No civilised society can call itself that without adherence to the rule of law.

The Tax Reformer's Mission Statement

The Tax Reformer is devoted to bringing about change to achieve, amongst other things:

  • genuine consultation on tax policy,
  • genuine consultation on tax drafting,
  • encouraging certainty in tax legislation,
  • clear guidelines for taxpayers,
  • ready access to skilled revenue officers whose advice can be counted on,
  • fairness in tax administration,
  • simple resolution of disputes,
  • greater harmonisation of legislation, if not standardisation,
  • greater harmonisation of revenue rulings, if not standardisation,
  • transparency in private rulings,
  • transparency in ex gratia payments,
  • the breakup of tax policy/drafting and administration so that tax policy/drafting is centred in Treasuries and administration is centred in autonomous revenue officers with the power of the relevant Commissioner to act independently;
  • the appointment of an Inspector General of Taxes as with the Australian Tax Office;
  • the appointment of a Board of taxation as with the Australian Tax Office;
  • the tabling each year by the Commissioner of statistics showing such things as the number and nature of public rulings, the number and nature of private rulings, the number and nature of objections filed,
  • the ageing of objections and appeals,
  • the disposition of objections and appeals.

What will The Tax Reformer do now and over time?

The list is endless!
The Tax Reformer has a roving commission. From:

  • identifying crazy, unintelligible legislation and rulings,
  • to publishing lists of ex gratia payments so everyone can take advantage of them,
  • to identifying areas where Commissioner’s act beyond power for expediency’s sake,
  • to websites which simply confuse taxpayers,
  • to practices which ambush taxpayers,
  • to ensuring that tax administrations collect the right amount of tax and where they are going,
  • to highlighting unfair dealings by tax administration, particularly vulnerable taxpayers.

Is The Tax Reformer giving legal advice?

No! No more than a tax authority gives advice when it puts things on a website. Taxpayers who want legal advice can contact Dr. Jeff Mann: see the About the Executive Director page.

Can The Tax Reformer provide educational courses?

Yes. We can work with you to put together tailored bespoke course on all State & Territories taxes.

Can The Tax Reformer do research on subjects of concern to you?

Yes. We can work with you to put together tailored, bespoke research subjects: See Economics & Law Research Institute Ltd.