Research program: Taxation reform, GST& teaching

 Dr Paul Kenny

Research activity: Tax reform

In respect of recent tax reform I have examined aspects of the massive 1999 Review of Business Taxation income tax reforms (known as the Ralph Report). Unfortunately, this “big bang” approach to tax reform was carried out in a very short period of time and the Ralph Report only quantified a scintilla of economic, equity and simplicity data. Now I keep asking myself the same questions about this process. What were the original problems that needed fixing by the Ralph Report? Were these problems identified and measured? What is the best reform out of all of the alternative solutions? What are the impacts of the Ralph Report’s tax reforms? Have we made any real progress?

Research activity: Goods and services tax

Also I am interested in the goods and services tax (GST). Specifically I am concerned about the impact of the GST on low income earners and the administration burden that the GST places on micro and small businesses.

Research activity: Teaching tax

Paul's tax textbook

 My other passion is in the teaching of taxation law. To this end I have published a text book specifically designed for undergraduate taxation students, Australian Tax 2004-2008, Lexis Nexis Butterworths. Unlike practitioner orientated taxation books Australian Tax breaks down the intricacies of complex tax legislation into the simplest possible framework (as set out in diagrams and step by step processes) complete with legislation readings and case summaries. Thus the student is walked through the tax maze and further assisted with examples, DIY problems and web multiple choice questions. Having taught tax since 1996 I have become familiar with the difficulties encountered by first time tax students and this text especially seeks to help you in those more difficult situations.

Research activity: Taxation and the internet

 Launch of Oz Tax in 1996

 In 1996 taxation and the internet was one of my first (and one of my most profitable) areas of research. At that time the material on the internet consisted of legislation links on AustLII and a handful of tax agent sites. To bring the internet to the attention of taxation practitioners, the Australian Taxation Office (ATO), the wider community and the media, we launched the internet site 'Oz Tax, the Australian Taxation Index' on 6 March 1996 at the Law and Commerce Building, Flinders University. Oz Tax was established as Australia's first taxation index to provide the community with easy access to Australian taxation information via the internet. Further assistance came from the leading taxation organisation, the Taxation Institute of Australia in lobbying taxation practitioners for change via our paper entitled 'Taxation and the Internet' (1996) Vol.30 No.9 /Taxation in Australia/ 474-477 (P Kenny, C Kandunias). Deputy Commissioner of Taxation Peter Pledge assisted our lobbying efforts to the Canberra ATO for change. Today the ATO is widely recognised as leading the world in its use of taxation and internet related technologies.