Reducing the company tax rate and abolishing the MRRT: a step forward or back?
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The Australia’s Future Tax System Review,1 commonly referred to as the Henry Tax Review (the Review) has been “one of the most comprehensive reviews of the tax and transfer system” ever undertaken in Australia.2 The overall aim of the Review was to restructure the way in which the government collects taxes so as to place the nation in a position where it could effectively deal with “its social, economic and environmental challenges and enhance economic, social and environmental well-being”.3 As a product of the review, Recommendations 27 and 45 have gained political and economic attention, suggesting a reduction of the company tax rate coupled with improved arrangements for charging for the use of non-renewable resources via a “uniform resource rent tax”.4 The first part of this paper will evaluate the Review’s Recommendation 27 that “the company income tax rate should be reduced to 25%,”5 by first discussing the proposed reform, then examining what impact it may have on the current tax system and evaluating the purported benefits of implementing the Recommendation. The second part of this paper will consider the second limb of Recommendation 27, which sets out that “[i]mproved arrangements for charging for the use of non-renewable resources should be introduced at the same time”6 together with Recommendation 45 which advocates the introduction of a “uniform resource rent tax”. Particular focus will be given to the Australian experience in relation to its failed attempt to introduce the Mineral Resource Rent Tax (MRRT).
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