Tax Rulings : Opinion or Law? The Need for an Independent 'Rule-Maker'

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Vol: 16, Issue: 1

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Scolaro, Diana
tax rulings; Australia; independent; rule-maker; tax system
article description
The taxation ruling system in Australia lacks the necessary independence required to operate fairly for taxpayers. This is because rulings are issued by the Commissioner and, given his primary role as tax collector, his rulings are inherently biased. This bias is problematic because in practice, rulings tend to achieve a ‘de facto’ law status and therefore, the opinion of the Commissioner is unfairly applied as if it were law. To restore equity in the system, an independent 'rule-maker' is essential. This article examines the need for an independent rulemaker, and puts forward an initiative for the independent administration of Australia’s tax ruling system.