Consultation in Business Tax Reform: Towards an Effective Tax Policy Network

EXECUTING AUSTRALIA'S INCOME TAX: THERE MUST BE A BETTER WAY, Graeme Cooper, ed., Australian Tax Research Foundation, Forthcoming

U of Melbourne Legal Studies Research Paper No. 319

Australian Tax Research Foundation Conference, 2006

38 Pages Posted: 3 Apr 2008

See all articles by Miranda Stewart

Miranda Stewart

University of Melbourne - Law School; Australian National University (ANU) - Crawford School of Public Policy

Abstract

The Australian government has in recent years paid increased attention to consultation in business tax reform, in line with trends in other areas of regulation. In 2007, the Board of Taxation released a report, Improving Australia's Tax Consultation System. Consultation is generally seen to be a "good thing" but a conceptual framework to describe and analyse consultation processes is lacking. This chapter seeks to provide that framework. It argues that we can best understand business tax consultation processes using the concept of a policy network, developed by political and organisational theorists to analyse modes of governance that extend beyond the formal boundaries of government. The chapter focuses on the specialized process of business tax consultation as a subset of tax reform more generally. All Australians have a stake in an effective and fair business tax system. However, the technical nature of corporate and international business tax means that the detailed policy, legislative drafting, interpretation and administrative systems are only comprehensible and of direct interest to a small section of the public, or of the bureaucratic, professional, academic and business community. The business tax policy network comprises the Treasurer and Treasury; the Board of Taxation and the ATO; tax professional and business associations; international organisations and individual experts. Consultation, advisory bodies, committees and reviews are formal ways in which this network operates. It also operates in informal ways. This chapter first explains the concept of a policy network in a new era of regulatory governance. It surveys current modes of business tax consultation and recent reviews of consultation in Australia, describes the tax policy network and examines the key participants. It considers the role of consultation in the network through a brief discussion of some recent examples of business tax reform. Finally, it identifies problems and considers the Board's 2007 recommendations in light of this analysis.

Keywords: policy network, tax, business, Australia, reform

JEL Classification: K34

Suggested Citation

Stewart, Miranda, Consultation in Business Tax Reform: Towards an Effective Tax Policy Network. EXECUTING AUSTRALIA'S INCOME TAX: THERE MUST BE A BETTER WAY, Graeme Cooper, ed., Australian Tax Research Foundation, Forthcoming, U of Melbourne Legal Studies Research Paper No. 319, Australian Tax Research Foundation Conference, 2006, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1116059

Miranda Stewart (Contact Author)

University of Melbourne - Law School ( email )

Melbourne, Victoria 3010
Australia
+61 3 8344 6544 (Phone)

Australian National University (ANU) - Crawford School of Public Policy ( email )

7 Liversidge Street
Lennox Crossing
Canberra, ACT 0200
Australia

HOME PAGE: http://https://crawford.anu.edu.au/people/academic/miranda-stewart

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