Australia’s tax system ‘third most complex in the world’

A report released today by the Federal Public Accounts and Audit Committee has confirmed what most Australians already know: Australia’s tax system is too complex.

“The level of service that the Tax Office gives to tax payers is constrained by the complexity of the tax laws,” Public Accounts and Audit Committee chair Sharon Grierson said when the report was tabled in Parliament.

While the committee found that the Australian Taxation Office is a world leader in tax administration, the Federal Government and Parliament need to spend more time developing simple, coherent tax policies and legislation, Grierson said.

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The report noted that complex tax laws increase the chance of taxpayer error in self-reported tax assessments such as those done by Australian taxpayers.

It found that, in 2004, Australia’s tax system was the third most complex of the 20 largest economies in the world.

The committee also argued that the Federal Government’s current tax review, Australia’s Future Tax System, would be an obvious vehicle to begin simplifying the tax system.

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