Ranked 39th

By Global Tax Weekly

When measured against its competitors, the Australian tax system isn’t actually that bad. PwC ranks Australia 39th out of 189 countries in terms of how easy it is for a medium-sized company to discharge its tax obligations, which isn’t a brilliant score, but it’s by no means the worst. Yet the Government is determined to make improvements. It can’t help that the Tax White Paper, the pithily titled “Re:think,” has come so soon after the last government’s failed attempt at comprehensive tax reform. Indeed, the Labor administration’s “Future Tax” review was just one of a long line of tax system assessments that must be putting taxpayers in Australia, especially corporate investors with long planning horizons, on a near-constant state of alert about the risks of legislative change. The Government must also be mindful of promising, or appearing to promise, things it can’t deliver. Governments all over the world are guilty of pledging radical, growth-boosting changes to tax legislation and administration, envisioning such fantasies as tax returns that can be completed in minutes as opposed to hours, but falling drastically short of initial objectives when it comes to the crunch. And Australia, straitjacketed as it is by a huge fiscal hole, is hardly in a position to begin slashing taxes. The Government’s inability to deliver even the most modest of corporate tax cuts – a planned 1.5 percent reduction was canceled last week – is evidence of that. The Government’s heart is in the right place, but I wouldn’t be getting my hopes up if I were an Australian taxpayer.

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