Advanced Search
MyIDEAS: Login to save this article or follow this journal

Tax law improvement in Australia and the UK: the need for a strategy for simplification


Author Info

  • Simon James
  • Ian Wallschutsky


In both Australia and the UK, programmes are under way to simplify tax legislation by rewriting it. This paper demonstrates that tax simplification is a complicated concept and concludes that sustainable improvement is unlikely to be achieved if reform is limited only to linguistic changes. Tax law is complicated because there are powerful pressures that tend to increase the complexity of modern tax systems and these should also be considered in any simplification programme. In addition, tax simplification may be promoted by the greater use of purposive legislation — that is, legislation drafted in terms of general principles rather than much more comprehensive legislation designed to deal with every likely possibility. The paper examines the progress of the Australian Tax Law Improvement Project and argues that what is needed is a strategy for tax simplification that is incorporated into the process of generating tax policy itself.

Download Info

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.
File URL:
Download Restriction: no

Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Institute for Fiscal Studies in its journal Fiscal Studies.

Volume (Year): 18 (1997)
Issue (Month): 4 (November)
Pages: 445-460

as in new window
Handle: RePEc:ifs:fistud:v:18:y:1997:i:4:p:445-460

Contact details of provider:
Postal: The Institute for Fiscal Studies 7 Ridgmount Street LONDON WC1E 7AE
Phone: (+44) 020 7291 4800
Fax: (+44) 020 7323 4780
Web page:
More information through EDIRC

Order Information:
Postal: The Institute for Fiscal Studies 7 Ridgmount Street LONDON WC1E 7AE

Related research


Find related papers by JEL classification:


References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
as in new window
  1. John Avery Jones CBE, 1996. "Tax law: rules or principles?," Fiscal Studies, Institute for Fiscal Studies, vol. 17(3), pages 63-89, August.
  2. Chris Davidson, 1996. "An update on the work of the Tax Law Review Committee," Fiscal Studies, Institute for Fiscal Studies, vol. 17(2), pages 103-110, May.
  3. Jill C Pagan, 1993. "Increasing length and complexity of tax legislation - avoidable or inevitable?," Fiscal Studies, Institute for Fiscal Studies, vol. 14(4), pages 90-105, November.
Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)


Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.
as in new window

Cited by:
  1. James, Simon & Edwards, Alison, 2008. "Developing Tax Policy in a Complex and Changing World," Economic Analysis and Policy (EAP), Queensland University of Technology (QUT), School of Economics and Finance, vol. 38(1), pages 35-53, March.
  2. Simon James, 1999. "The future international tax environment and European tax harmonization: a personal view," European Accounting Review, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 8(4), pages 731-747.
  3. Lynne Oats, 2005. "Distinguishing closely held companies for taxation purposes: The Australian experience 1930-1972," Accounting History Review, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 15(1), pages 35-61.


This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.


Access and download statistics


When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:ifs:fistud:v:18:y:1997:i:4:p:445-460. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Stephanie Seavers).

If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.