REVIEWING THE REVIEWS: A COMPARISON OF RECENT TAX REVIEWS IN AUSTRALIA, THE UNITED KINGDOM AND NEW ZEALAND OR “A FUNNY THING HAPPENED ON THE WAY TO THE FORUM”
By Chris Evans
This article compares and contrasts the Australian Henry Review with major tax reviews that took place at about the same time in the United Kingdom (the Mirrlees Review) and New Zealand (the Tax Working Group Review). It suggests that the three countries share many cultural, social, economic and political traditions and institutions, but that this shared heritage does not necessarily extend to the realms of tax reviews and the possible roads to tax reform that the countries may tread. There are some similarities in aspects of the processes of tax review that have taken place in the three countries (though rather more differences), and all three countries also share a commitment to broadly similar principles underlying the recommendations made by each of the three reviews. But the specific proposals made by each of the reviews do not share much common ground. The differences are more apparent than any similarities that may occur, an outcome (in part at least) predicated upon the very different political, economic and fiscal imperatives prevailing in each of the three countries.