Squeezing blood from stones? A comparative analysis of tax relief for victim-survivors in Australia and the United States

Kayis-Kumar, A., Speidel, C.S. & Book, L. (2024). Squeezing blood from stones? A comparative analysis of tax relief for victim-survivors in Australia and the United States. Australian Tax Forum. 39(2), 191-220.

Kayis-Kumar, A., Speidel, C.S. & Book, L. (2024). Squeezing blood from stones? A comparative analysis of tax relief for victim-survivors in Australia and the United States. Australian Tax Forum. 39(2), 191-220.

22 Pages Posted: 6 Mar 2024 Last revised: 16 May 2024

See all articles by Ann Kayis-Kumar

Ann Kayis-Kumar

UNSW Sydney

Christine Speidel

Villanova University Charles Widger School of Law

Leslie Book

Villanova University School of Law

Date Written: March 4, 2024

Abstract

Women who leave abusive relationships generally do so with increased debt, reduced assets, insecure housing and longer-term economic insecurity. Most of these women will be experiencing economic abuse even after the relationship has ended, and many cite financial instability as a key factor driving them back into abusive relationships. So, it is imperative that the tax and transfer system helps rather than hinders (albeit inadvertently) this cohort of financially vulnerable taxpayers. However, this is not always the case, with victim-survivors of economic abuse often liable for tax debts incurred by former partners operating businesses in the victim-survivor's name.

This article explores the tax collection practices and grounds for relief from tax debts available in Australia and the United States to survivors of economic abuse on grounds of serious financial hardship. It outlines both the legislative history and regulatory landscape, and explores the systemic issues faced by survivors of domestic violence. Identifying lessons learnt from developments in the United States, this article offers evidence-based recommendations to modernise Australia’s tax laws and regulations. These recommendations are designed to attain better outcomes for survivors of economic abuse while also maintaining trust and confidence in the Australian Taxation Office among the wider community.

Suggested Citation

Kayis-Kumar, Ann and Speidel, Christine and Book, Leslie, Squeezing blood from stones? A comparative analysis of tax relief for victim-survivors in Australia and the United States (March 4, 2024). Kayis-Kumar, A., Speidel, C.S. & Book, L. (2024). Squeezing blood from stones? A comparative analysis of tax relief for victim-survivors in Australia and the United States. Australian Tax Forum. 39(2), 191-220. , Kayis-Kumar, A., Speidel, C.S. & Book, L. (2024). Squeezing blood from stones? A comparative analysis of tax relief for victim-survivors in Australia and the United States. Australian Tax Forum. 39(2), 191-220. , Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=4746954

Ann Kayis-Kumar (Contact Author)

UNSW Sydney ( email )

High Street
Kensington
2052
Australia

Christine Speidel

Villanova University Charles Widger School of Law ( email )

299 N. Spring Mill Road
Villanova, PA 19085
United States

Leslie Book

Villanova University School of Law ( email )

299 N. Spring Mill Road
Villanova, PA 19085
United States

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