Centre for Tax System Integrity

Research Projects and Surveys

Australians' Responses to Mass Marketed Schemes and Tax Planning

Tax planning is becoming increasingly practicable and desirable for Australians. Such planning includes acting on the incentives provided by government, for example increasing superannuation contributions to reduce taxable income. At the other end of the scale, however, are aggressive activities that serve no other obvious purpose than the avoidance of tax. Where the line is drawn to separate legitimate from illegitimate activities is unclear to many Australians.

Surveys were sent to people throughout Australia who had invested in schemes that had been marketed as investments that could legally reduce taxable income. The Tax Office challenged the legitimacy of the deductions through the courts and many of the people involved received amended tax assessments informing them that they owed large sums of money to the Tax Office. Their reactions and reasons for joining the schemes are documented in The Australian Tax System Survey of Tax Scheme Investors, conducted in 2001. Subsequently, a sample of these same investors completed The Tax Scheme Investors' Follow-up Survey in 2004.

Kalgoorlie was an Australian community in which schemes had been marketed very effectively and where anger over the Tax Office's decisions was very high. Researchers interviewed people in caught up in the schemes in Kalgoorlie and became involved in analyzing survey data collected through the Goldfields Community Legal Centre. Analyses of these data are still underway.

Chief Investigators

Dr Tina Murphy
Dr Kersty Hobson
Ms Sophie Cartwright

Data Sets

The Australian Tax System Survey of Tax Scheme Investors (The Investors' Survey)

The Tax Scheme Investors' Follow-up Survey (The Investors' Survey Follow-up).

Interviews were conducted in October/November 2001 with Kalgoorlie residents, some of whom were investors.

Key Publications

Murphy, K.
Regulating more effectively: The relationship between procedural justice, legitimacy and tax non-compliance, Journal of Law and Society 32(4) 2005: 562-589.
(pdf version - Working Paper)

Murphy, K.
The role of trust in nurturing compliance: A study of accused tax avoiders, Law and Human Behavior 28(2) 2004: 187-209.
(pdf version)

Murphy, K.
Procedural justice and tax compliance, Australian Journal of Social Issues 38(3) 2003: 379-408.
(pdf version)

Hobson, K.
'Technologies of the Self' and some Contradictions of the Enabling State: The Case of Tax Effective Schemes in Australia. RegNet Occasional Paper No 1. Regulatory Institutions Network, Australian National University, Canberra, 2004.
(pdf version)



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