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Text, Style, Presentation - Assessing the Drafting Experiment in Australian Tax Laws

46 Pages Posted: 20 Aug 2008  

Graeme S. Cooper

The University of Sydney Law School

Date Written: August 18, 2008

Abstract

Australian tax drafting is now a small distinctive enclave within the larger realm of legislative drafting because the tax system has been chosen as the site for a novel drafting project. This has been done in the apparent belief that changing the choice and organisation of words within the tax Acts can deliver significant benefits to the community. The assumption underlying this belief is that much of the blame for the multitude of complaints made against the Australian tax system should be attributed to an incomprehensible statute, rather than, say confused policy choices or mistaken assumptions. This paper analyses the language, the style and the presentation of Australia's tax statutes - that is, the words chosen by the drafters to express legislative intent and the way those words are organised and presented to readers.

Keywords: legislative drafting, income tax, tax reform

JEL Classification: K34, K40, H20, G38, H83

Suggested Citation

Cooper, Graeme S., Text, Style, Presentation - Assessing the Drafting Experiment in Australian Tax Laws (August 18, 2008). Sydney Law School Research Paper No. 08/92. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1233162 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1233162

Graeme S. Cooper (Contact Author)

The University of Sydney Law School ( email )

New Law Building, F10
The University of Sydney
Sydney, NSW 2006
Australia

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