New Zealand Taxation and Taxation Law
in Xavier Cabannes (ed) Issues on Taxation in the South Pacific/Regards sur la Fiscalité dans le Pacifique Sud Comparative Law Journal of the Pacific Hors Série XVIII (2015) 99.
32 Pages Posted: 31 Mar 2015
Date Written: March 28, 2015
This paper offers an historical, economic, constitutional, and contextual survey of the New Zealand tax system. The focus is on income tax, but the paper also briefly describes the “goods services tax”, the name given to the New Zealand value added tax. The focus is on domestic taxation, but there is a brief survey of international elements.
The paper considers several innovations that have spread from New Zealand to other jurisdictions: the general anti-avoidance rule, or “GAAR”, the imputation system for taxing companies and shareholders, and a fringe benefits tax collected from employers rather than employees. It explains two innovations that are yet to be adopted elsewhere, at least on a widespread basis: (i) the “accruals” rules, which cause most income and expenditure in respect of financial arrangements to be calculated on a yield to maturity basis, and (ii) certain pooling rules, which allow taxpayers to set off between themselves under-estimated and over- estimated tax (the tax being consequently under- or over-paid), thereby minimising interest otherwise payable to the Crown.
The paper demonstrates how the concept of income in New Zealand tax law fits into a model of a crude, or standard, idea of income, modified by rules that either mitigate the harshness of that concept or that prevent people from exploiting its vulnerabilities.
Keywords: New Zealand taxation, concept of income, tax legislation, income tax, GAAR, company taxation
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