IDEAS home Printed from
MyIDEAS: Log in (now much improved!) to save this article

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

Listed author(s):
  • 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.

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

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

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

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

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.:

in new window

  1. 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.
  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. John Avery Jones CBE, 1996. "Tax law: rules or principles?," Fiscal Studies, Institute for Fiscal Studies, vol. 17(3), pages 63-89, August.
Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

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

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: (Emma Hyman)

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.

This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.