The Journal of Australian Taxation has always adopted a policy of publishing articles on a wide range of tax topics. This volume is no exception. It contains seven articles from tax practitioners and academics on Australian and New Zealand tax issues.
The articles in this volume deal with a wide range of topics. Thus the first article, by Lisa Marriott and Dalice Sim, examines the attitude of over 3,000 New Zealand and Australian residents to tax evasion and welfare fraud. This is extremely timely in light of the controversial automated welfare overspending recovery program by Australian authorities. The respondents to the survey saw tax evasion as just as serious a crime as welfare fraud. This, the authors argue, conflicts with policy settings in both countries which treat welfare fraud as more serious than tax evasion. It has implications for policy makers and the judicial system alike.
In the second article Sunita Jogarajan examines the need for external scrutiny of the Australian Tax Office given the extent of the powers of the Commissioner of Taxation. The author argues that the current range of external bodies that have a role in scrutinising the ATO may be ineffective. Given the need for taxpayers to have certainty under the self‐assessment system, this article provides a thought‐provoking overview of the current situation.
Jonathan Nguyen in the third article looks at the Australian dividend imputation system and in particular the implications for corporations of a company tax rate reduction and the differential in the value of the imputation credits. It is a very timely discussion given the Australian Government’s drive to reduce the company tax rate.
Cyrus Thistleton is the author of a most comprehensive article on the general anti‐avoidance rule contained in Australia’s Goods and Services Tax legislation. In particular the author discusses the basis on which the Commissioner of taxation is empowered or required to cancel any tax benefit obtained by the taxpayer. This article is important reading for academics and tax practitioners who wish to increase their understanding of the GST GAAR.
The fifth article, by James Murray, examines the taxation consequences of companies making distributions to their shareholders by way of bonus shares; dividend reinvestment plans and profit distribution plans. The article is based on New Zealand taxation law and New Zealand’s imputation system and resident withholding tax.
The sixth article was written by David Jones, a retired tax academic from RMIT, and John Passant and John McLaren. It should be noted that this article was refereed and approved for publication prior to John McLaren and John Passant assuming the editorship of the journal. The article argues that the test of residence for a company not incorporated in Australia may be deemed to be a resident if its central management and control is in Australia without the need to show that it is also carrying on a business in Australia. This means that the ATO’s approach to this issue, contained in tax ruling TR 2004/14, may be open to serious doubt.
The last article in this edition, by Brian Dollery and Joseph Drew, illustrates the breadth of topics
published in the Journal of Australian Taxation. The article critically examines the financial, efficiency
and equity effects on councils and ratepayers as a result of the forced amalgamations of some local
government councils in New South Wales. The article provides an excellent insight into this area of
local government operations and the imposition of rates, which are a form of land tax.
Charles Darwin University
Australian National University February 2017
DEALING WITH DISPUTES ABOUT TAXATION IN A ‘FAIR’ WAY Tania Sourdin
EVASION OF INTEREST WITHHOLDING TAX: EVIDENCE FROM TRADING VOLUMES IN AUSTRALIAN GOVERNMENT BONDS Yanghui (Maggie) Wu, Philip G Brown and Rob Brown
ASSESSING TAXPAYER RESPONSE TO LEGISLATIVE CHANGES: A CASE STUDY OF ‘IN-HOUSE’ FRINGE BENEFITS RULES Daniel Braverman, Stephen Marsden and Kerrie Sadiq
CAREFUL WHAT YOU WISH FOR: RATE-CAPPING IN VICTORIAN LOCAL GOVERNMENT Joseph Drew and Brian Dollery
ECONOMIC AND SOCIAL CONSEQUENCES OF CHANGING TAXATION ARRANGEMENTS TO WORKING HOLIDAY MAKERS Adam Steen and Victoria Peel