Why tax reform and why now?

Why tax reform?

The tax system is holding Australia back

There is evidence that the economic costs of Australia’s tax system are higher than they need to be. Australia’s tax system was designed in a different era, when the economy was very different. It was not designed to deal with multinational trade, increasing global competition for investment, the internet and the digital economy. The implications of an ageing population requires a fresh approach to tax.

There are opportunities to simplify Australia’s tax system and improve its fairness. Many features of the existing system make it less attractive to invest in Australia and limits job growth, affecting Australia’s continuing prosperity. Other features make it less attractive for people to work. Some aspects create unnecessary waste. Across the system there is significant complexity.

Tax reform is an opportunity to unleash Australia’s full economic potential, support improved living standards and continued prosperity.

Why now?

The 2015 Intergenerational Report shows how Australia may change over the next 40 years. While it projects income growth will slow, it also shows that Australia can continue to prosper by making the best of our circumstances and opportunities, including by reforming the tax system to promote jobs, growth and opportunity.

Technology is changing the way Australians work and play. The rise of the digital economy and globalisation presents significant challenges for the effectiveness of the tax system. Capital is more mobile and highlights the need for a competitive corporate tax regime to encourage investment. Multinational corporations operate across many jurisdictions and the location where tax should be paid can be difficult to determine.

As the world continues to change, our tax system is confronted with new challenges. These challenges invite us to think creatively about the kind of tax system that will enable us to better realise the opportunities before us.

Investment in our economy leads to jobs, higher wages and better living standards. Australia competes for investment globally. Australia’s tax system lags behind its competitors. Tax reform can position Australia to make the most of opportunities.

Improving our living standards depends on improving our competitiveness and attracting investment. Australian businesses and the workforce produce some of the best products, deliver some of the best services and conceive of some of the best ideas in the world. Today Australians work more efficiently, productively and profitably than ever before. Australians deserve a better tax system with taxes that are lower, simpler, fairer.