Media Releases

Review of Business Taxation press release
No. 5/98
EMBARGO:  23 December 1998   2.00 pm

REVIEW OF BUSINESS TAXATION RELEASES INTERNATIONAL COMPARISON INFORMATION PAPER

The Chairman of the Review of Business Taxation, Mr John Ralph, AO today released the second of the Review’s documents, an information paper entitled An International Perspective. The other members of the Review are Mr Rick Allert, AM and Mr Bob Joss.

An International Perspective was commissioned from Arthur Andersen and provides a comparison of Australia’s business tax system with those of 26 other countries, 13 of these in some detail.

The purpose of the paper is to provide information on the way in which other countries approach the taxation of business income and to gain possible insights into the design of taxation policy and legislative processes in other countries.

This information and the resultant insights should assist in the complex process of reviewing Australia’s arrangements since many of these countries have been or are now grappling with a similar set of problems that Australia faces with its business tax system.

Mr Ralph noted that the design of taxation systems can reflect a wide range of economic, social, political, cultural and historical features, many of which are not relevant to Australia.

"The Review will not be looking for a ‘lowest common denominator’ approach by seeking to distil only the most favoured features from the viewpoint of the taxpayer. This would be unlikely to raise the revenue needed to enable the government to provide the expected range of public services and welfare support that the nation expects," Mr Ralph said. "On the other hand we will be looking for features that work to improve the competitiveness of the economy as well as improving Australia’s attractiveness in relation to foreign investment."

In November, the Review released a discussion paper entitled A Strong Foundation, which aimed to encourage discussion of the desirable national objectives, framework principles and processes of a national taxation system.

Early in the New Year the Review will release a second discussion paper concerning the more detailed policy issues.

An International Perspective will be of assistance to those considering the issues raised in that discussion paper as well as being of assistance in the drafting of the final report by the Review. This report is to be submitted to the Government by 30 June 1999.

23 December 1998