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Australia Improving Tax Consultation System

by Mary Swire,, Hong Kong

16 August 2007

Australian Treasurer Peter Costello has announced improvements to the arrangements for community consultation in the development of tax legislation.

These changes are in response to the recommendations by the Board of Taxation in the report 'Improving Australia’s Tax Consultation System'. They build on the significant changes to community consultation on tax legislation which the Government introduced in 2002.

The Board was asked, in conjunction with the Treasury, to review international consultation processes, with a view to identifying any potential improvements to the Australian system, especially in respect of non-controversial minor policy or technical amendments, and report to Government.

The review found that Australia’s existing tax consultation arrangements have improved significantly since 2002, are consistent with international practice, are generally functioning well, and have community support.

Building on existing arrangements, the report identified opportunities for all involved to improve the effectiveness and efficiency of consultation, which should ultimately improve tax system outcomes.

The report makes twelve recommendations on ways in which the Government, officials, external stakeholders, and the Board itself can work together to improve Australia’s tax consultation system.

Costello said that the Government endorses the Board’s recommendations, and will be working with the community to implement them.

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