How can we compare tax systems? TTPI Policy Brief 5/2020

By Teck Chi Wong, Robert Breunig and Miranda Stewart (Tax and Transfer Policy Institute, ANU)

Beyond tax rates, how can one country’s tax system be compared, at an overall level, to another’s in terms of competitiveness and complexity? Traditionally, tax rates have been the main indicator used for comparing the competitiveness of country tax systems. However, such an approach fails to consider multiple aspects of the tax system. As Slemrod and Gillitzer (2013) argue, ‘tax policy is really tax-systems policy’. Effective tax policy depends on the interrelationship between different aspects of taxation, including tax rates, tax bases, administration, enforcement and taxpayers’ compliance. Think tanks and international institutions have thus started to account for this multidimensional nature of taxation to provide more comprehensive rankings or comparisons of national tax competitiveness and complexity around the world.

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Liveable Income Guarantee, TTPI Policy Brief 4/2020

By John Quiggin (University of Queensland), Elise Klein (Australian National University), Tim Dunlop (Independent Researcher), Troy Henderson (Sydney University) and Jane Goodall (University of Western Sydney)

The current COVID-19 crisis has revealed an urgent need for a sustained approach to employment and income support policy. In addressing this, we propose a Liveable Income Guarantee (LIG). The LIG is closely linked to the idea of a participation income and starts from the principle that everyone has a right to a liveable income, to a minimum level of financial security, and an opportunity to contribute to society.  The paper examines possible eligibility requirements of a LIG, suggestions of additional payments to complement the payment, as well as an outline of budgetary costs and how financing could work. We argue that the implementation of a LIG would allow Australia to be better prepared in the event of future disruptions, such as the pandemic currently affecting the global economy and societies more broadly. Beyond that, the LIG provides the support that allows us to aspire to be a society where everyone has an income sufficient to live a comfortable and dignified life.

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