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Board of Taxation Study: Differences in core definitions and concepts between state, territory and federal tax laws

Background

A key objective of the Board of Taxation (the Board) is to assist the Government in reducing the regulatory burden associated with taxation. The Board receives regular feedback from stakeholders that there is an unnecessary compliance and regulatory burden arising from the inconsistencies in core definitions and concepts between state, territory and federal tax laws. This has been a common theme raised with the Board by stakeholders in the previous twelve months.

Stakeholders claim that the inconsistency in core definitions and concepts in the tax laws at various levels of government is impeding business activity. The inconsistency or failure to ‘harmonise’ definitions is said to have led to increased compliance costs and uncertainty of treatment for businesses operating nationally.

Working Group

The Board established a Working Group to investigate the extent of the inconsistencies in core definitions and concepts between state, territory and federal tax laws. The Working Group was chaired by Board member Peter Quiggin, with assistance from Board members John Emerson and Neville Mitchell. The Group was assisted by Geoff Mann (partner of Ashurst) and the Board’s secretariat.

The purpose of the Working Group was to identify legislative inconsistencies between core definitions and concepts within state, territory and federal tax laws, and to document the concerns in more detail. It was envisaged that identifying and documenting the differences would provide a reference point for further debate around the need for greater harmonisation of core definitions and concepts across tax laws at all levels.

Board Report

The Board completed its study into the differences in core definitions and concepts between state, territory and federal tax laws as at 30 March 2017. The Board was assisted by the various State and Territory Revenue agencies who verified the differences noted and detailed in Attachment B (Payroll Tax) and Attachment C (Stamp duty and Land tax). The Board acknowledges the assistance of Deloitte in compiling these comparison tables.

Further information

For further information about the Board’s work on differences in core definitions and concepts between state, territory and federal tax laws, please contact the Board of Taxation Secretariat at taxboard@treasury.gov.au or 02 6263 4366.

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