The Impact of Recent Tax Changes on Tax Complexity and Compliance Costs: The Tax Practitioners’ Perspective

25 Pages Posted: 1 Nov 2016

See all articles by Binh Tran-Nam

Binh Tran-Nam

University of New South Wales (UNSW) - School of Taxation and Business Law

Philip Lignier

University of Tasmania

Chris Evans

University of New South Wales

Date Written: May 26, 2016

Abstract

This article reports the results of an online survey of Australian tax practitioners conducted in May 2014. The purpose of the survey was to gain further insight into how tax changes impact on the role of tax practitioners in assisting their clients to comply with tax obligations (including tax planning). The survey was also designed to identify the possible managerial benefits that business taxpayers may derive from their relationship with a tax practitioner. This article focuses only on the first objective of the survey.

The online survey attracted 241 respondents and analysis of the data obtained reveals a number of key findings, some of which are confirmatory. First, respondents see tax planning as being almost as important as tax compliance in their role as tax practitioners. As might be expected, the perceived importance of tax planning becomes stronger as firm size becomes larger. Second, respondents consider that the frequent changes to tax rules over the previous five‑year period had an adverse impact on their practice and the nature of the tax services provided to their clients. They also perceive those frequent changes as a main driver of tax complexity. Third, respondents claim that they incur non‑trivial annual costs of coping with tax changes and can ultimately pass on only a small proportion of these costs to their clients. Fourth, respondents exhibit a largely negative view about the impact of cumulative tax changes over the previous five‑year period on their ability to advise clients with certainty, particularly in relation to tax planning; and on the time and stress associated with tax return preparation.

Suggested Citation

Tran-Nam, Binh and Lignier, Philip and Evans, Christopher Charles, The Impact of Recent Tax Changes on Tax Complexity and Compliance Costs: The Tax Practitioners’ Perspective (May 26, 2016). Australian Tax Forum, Vol. 31(3), 2016, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2862382

Binh Tran-Nam (Contact Author)

University of New South Wales (UNSW) - School of Taxation and Business Law ( email )

UNSW Sydney
Sydney, NSW 2052
Australia
61-2-9385-9561 (Phone)
61-2-9313-6658 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://www.asb.unsw.edu.au/schools/Pages/BinhTran-Nam.aspx

Philip Lignier

University of Tasmania ( email )

French Street
Sandy Bay
Tasmania, 7250
Australia

Christopher Charles Evans

University of New South Wales ( email )

School of Taxation and Business Law
Australian School of Business, UNSW
Sydney, NSW 2052
Australia

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