1985 reform of the Australian tax system

Author name: 
Tilley, P

After the tumult of the Whitlam government, the Fraser government (1975-1983) saw consolidation with less reform. The 1975 Asprey report remained largely unactioned, despite the fundamental problems that burdened the Australian tax system. The 1983 election of the Hawke government, however, set in train a series of economic reforms, and tax would play a big part in these. This paper tracks those developments, starting with the tax avoidance and evasion issues that plagued the era and the 1981 Campbell Committee financial system review. The main focus, though, is on the 1985 draft white paper and tax summit that delivered the first instalment of the Asprey blueprint. While the broad-based consumption tax didn’t get up, the package reformed Australia’s income tax system, with a capital gains tax, a fringe benefits tax, a foreign tax credit system and a dividend imputation system.

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