The Development of Centralised Income Taxation in Australia, 1901–1942

Richard Krever, Peter Mellor

Research output: Chapter in Book/Conference paperChapterpeer-review

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By the time of Federation in Australia in 1901, all of Australia ’ s six States (then British Colonies) had introduced income taxes in some form. This chapter traces the subsequent development of the centralisation of Australia ’ s income taxation system from 1915, when the central (Commonwealth) government fi rst joined the States in the income tax fi eld, until 1942, when the Commonwealth government moved to usurp State income tax rights entirely, supposedly for the period of the Second World War and shortly thereafter. The allegedly temporary change adopted in 1942 has remained in place since. The Commonwealth ’ s entry into the income tax fi eld in 1915 is often explained as a wartime fi nance measure. The chapter explains how other motives, particularly the goal of extending Commonwealth jurisdiction over State regulated economic fi elds, may have been an equal or greater consideration. Partial but incomplete harmonisation of the State and Commonwealth income tax legislation in 1936 mitigated but did not eliminate the administrative burdens imposed by parallel State and Commonwealth taxes. Attacks on Australian soil in 1942 brought about the conditions the Commonwealth government needed to consolidate economic control over the States by monopolising the income tax field.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationStudies in the History of Tax Law, Vol. 7
EditorsPeter Harris, Dominic de Cogan
Place of PublicationOxford
PublisherHart Publishing
Number of pages30
ISBN (Electronic)9781509902095
ISBN (Print)9781849467988
Publication statusPublished - 2015
Externally publishedYes


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