A better tax return: reconsidering the role of Australia’s tax system

14 Oct 2008

This BCA discussion paper argues that the level and structure of taxes imposed fundamentally impact the decisions – such as investment, having and workforce participation – that shape our economic, social and environmental future. The revenues raised by the system can be used to strategically invest in future prosperity. Getting the balance right, in terms of the amount of tax collected and the types of taxes imposed, is a key challenge for governments. All taxes change incentives and impose costs. If the tax system is to support the nations goals we must be confident that unnecessary taxes and costs are minimised, and that the incentives or disincentives created by taxation enable the actions and outcomes needed to achieve our ambitions. The BCA argues that we must change our mindset about tax. Rather than viewing tax as a regulatory burden, or simply as a means of revenue, we should consider the role tax can play in underpinning our national reform agenda in the critical areas that will deliver a more prosperous future. Rather than seeing tax simply as a necessary burden, we must see it as an enabler of growth and prosperity. ‘Tax and spend’ needs to become ‘tax and invest’.

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