Australia's Future Tax System

Consultation Paper

Foreword

The tax-transfer system is a fundamental part of Australia's social and economic infrastructure. It has been, and will continue to be, shaped by the choices that Australians make about the type of society in which they choose to live. It can have a profound influence on the opportunities available to Australians.

The terms of reference for the review into Australia's future tax system are broad and present a significant opportunity for the Review Panel, in consultation with the community, to design a tax-transfer system for Australia's future. Consistent with the 'root and branch' description of this review, the Panel wants to identify the appropriate form and structure for the tax-transfer system.

While the focus of the review is necessarily on the next 10 to 20 years, the choices made in the years ahead will influence the shape of the tax-transfer system well beyond this period. It is therefore important to consider the potential challenges, opportunities and choices facing Australians over the next few decades when considering the design of our tax-transfer system.

In August, the Review Panel invited submissions to the review, guided by four broad consultation questions. Submissions were received from people and organisations from across the entire community and cover a wide range of ideas, views and issues. The Panel wishes to thank everyone who participated in this stage of the consultation process.

In this paper, the Panel reports on the submissions we have received, provides some discussion of the main issues and outlines further questions, the answers to which are necessary in shaping the recommendations for our final report. In answering these questions the Panel will continue to draw upon the submissions already provided.

Over the next 12 months, the Panel will build on these initial steps, through supplementary submissions, further consultations, a series of technical papers to provide an informed basis for ongoing debate, and a high level conference to consider the major issues. The separate consultations being conducted on the issues of pensions and retirement incomes complement these processes. Taken as a whole, this program of work will be central in shaping the Panel's final report to the Treasurer in December 2009.

SIGNED

Ken Henry
Chair
Review Panel
Australia's Future Tax System