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Taxation is at the heart of public finance in Australia, as in other nation states with market economies. Taxation is the most significant source of revenue to finance government and it has a significant effect on all individuals and businesses because it is used to deliver distributive justice and to influence the allocation of resources in the economy.
- examines Australia’s tax system and the principles of public finance, with a focus on the income tax law, Australia’s most important tax;
- explores contemporary tax reform debates in the context of public finance principles;
- develops legal and analytical skills in the interpretation and application of the income tax law to widely relevant transactions of individuals and businesses; and
- identifies the sociopolitical factors which shape the tax law and its connection with other areas of law and other disciplines, especially economics and social sciences.
Intended learning outcomes
Participants in this subject will develop the capability to do critical analysis of Australia’s tax law in its sociopolitical context, including by applying public finance principles and interpretive theories of law. Participants will master the application of the income tax statute, cases and administrative guidance concerning:
- assessable income, including the treatment of capital gains;
- allowable deductions, or other recognition of expenditure and losses;
- the time at which income or deductions are recognised;
- an introduction to the tax treatment of intermediary entities including partnerships, companies and trusts;
- key elements of international tax jurisdiction;
- key elements of the rules for administration of taxation law; and
- tax compliance, planning and avoidance, including anti-avoidance rules.
Students who successfully complete this subject will:
- have an understanding of the core principles of public finance and be able to critically analyse the taxation law applying these principles;
- be capable of interpreting and applying in a detailed and nuanced manner Australian income tax law to a range of widely relevant transactions;
- be capable of identifying strategic issues in tax planning including the importance of timing, use of entities and approaches to compliance and avoidance;
- fully appreciate the importance of the sociopolitical context in shaping taxation law, tax administration and taxpayer behaviour; and
- be equipped to address uncertainty and risk in the application of taxation law from the perspective of a taxpayer and the tax administrator.
Last updated: 10 November 2023