Election 2013: One week to go

The Federal Election campaign has run for almost four full weeks, with only one week left to go.

Disappointingly, neither major party has yet shown much willingness to talk about the tax reforms needed to ensure our system is well prepared for the challenges of the decades ahead.

Despite much talk of debt and deficits, the focus has remained on "saves" over the forward estimates period rather than long term structural reform, with a familiar GST scare campaign thrown in for good measure.

The Henry Review pointed out that "Australia has too many taxes and too many complicated ways of delivering multiple policy objectives through the tax system".

Since that review, our tax system has continued to languish under the weight of policy on the run, neglect of previous announcements and an ongoing refusal to discuss taxes such as the GST.

Issues such as trusts taxation reform remain outstanding, while hard won measures such as tax loss carry back stand to be stripped back. Especially concerning is the lack of clarity in relation to the raft of announced but un-enacted measures: a list that will surely be added to after the Election.

Meaningful reform may now seem like a luxury, but will soon become a necessity.

Our major political parties can and must do better on the issue of tax reform. We'll be sure to remind them as the last week of campaigning winds down.

The Tax Institute
Deepti Paton, CTA is Tax Counsel of The Tax Institute.

The Tax Institute is Australia’s leading professional association in tax. Its 13,000 members include tax agents, accountants and lawyers as well as tax practitioners in corporations, government and academia.

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