General Editor’s introduction
The presence of numerous tax concessions in the Australian tax system not only constitutes poor policy in terms of fiscal adequacy, equity, simplicity and efficiency, but it also provides fertile grounds for the unscrupulous to exploit taxpayers. Are the lessons ever learnt, given the experiences of tens of thousands of taxpayers who suffer from tax driven schemes, often supported by administrator and/or policy inaction, and marketed with administrator rulings and/or legal opinions? These schemes include tailored individual arrangements and widely marketed schemes involving round-robin financing, limited or non-recourse loans, participant obligations limited to investment profits, trust structures to split income and interest deductions schemes. Tax driven schemes have included bottom-of-the-harbour, Wickenby, Great Southern, Gunns, and Storm Financial schemes, as well as the bogus financial investment schemes of the 1990s. More recently, popular arrangements focus on deductible investments in agricultural, horticultural or film schemes, as well as selling over-priced apartments to self-managed superannuation funds and investors who seek the favourable superannuation tax concessions or negative gearing.
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