Recent Question/Assignment

Swinburne University of Technology
Division of Higher Education
2nd Semester 2015
For students to research and analyse a current and topical issue in Taxation.
One purpose of a taxation system is to fund government expenditures. It is compulsorily levied upon the taxpayer even though they may not be the entity that receives the benefit of the government services to which the money is applied.
Taxation is also used as an instrument of fiscal policy either by offering incentives to behave in a certain way (e.g. health insurance tax offset) or to discourage certain behaviour (e.g. tobacco excise). Another purpose is to redistribute wealth by taxing the rich to give to the poor (social security programmes).
There are many different forms of taxes used through history and different countries. They have a common structure in that it only applies to certain taxpayers and only in respect of a certain tax base. The tax rates are generally proportional to the tax base or have progressive rates, i.e. the rate increases. The economic burden may be borne by a different person where the cost can be passed on to customers such as in GST and VAT systems which are called indirect taxes.
There are generally accepted features of a good tax system such as simplicity, equity in treatment of different taxpayers, and neutrality by not distorting commercial decisions.
Your assignment is to compare the structures of the Australian income tax system with the GST system using broad principles.
Your research report should consider:
1) Commonwealth expenditures which give rise to the need to raise taxes and the breakdown of the tax revenues raised.
2) Who are the taxpayers and what are the tax bases and rates. Are they direct or indirect taxes?
3) Is each system a good design considering simplicity, efficiency, equity, etc?
4) The government is currently examining how to raise further taxes such as by proposing a rise in the rate of GST. It has already introduced a temporary deficit levy on high income individuals but is looking for a more permanent arrangement. What do you propose would be a good and fair solution?
? The use of charts, diagrams and examples is encouraged.
? Brief powerpoint slides may be prepared for student group presentations.
This Research Assignment represents 30% (or 30 marks) of the total assessment.
• 25% (25 marks) relates to your submission (due Mon 5th October 2015)
• 5% (5 marks) relates to your class presentation [week beg 5th October 2015 ]
Due Date: Written submission due on Monday 5th October 2015 (5pm) • Group Presentations in Class week beginning 5th October 2015.
Word Length: 2,000 words (excluding footnotes, references and appendices).
• The research assignment must be submitted as a group. A group may consist of a maximum of 4 students; no less than 3 students.
• This is a research assignment and as such your report should provide your personal/group view based on research evidence, theory and original thought.
• Please study the marking rubric and observe the marks allocated for structure and quality of referencing. This is a postgraduate assignment and therefore critical thinking and recommendations are very important.
• A class presentation of your report is due in week beginning 5th October 2015.
• The assignment must have correctly referenced appendixes.
• You can refer to the information contained in your additional readings below.
• You will need to access the CCH library information link which is on blackboard.
• A good starting point for this assignment would be Chapters 1-7 of your text book, Foundations of Taxation Law together with the website of the ATO (available at:
• Other references which will be of assistance are as follows:
Government discussion papers:
Board of Taxation Discussion paper March 2015
Barkoczy, S.; Foundations of Taxation Law; CCH Australia,
Woellner et al; Australian Taxation Law; CCH Australia, Australian Master Tax Guide; CCH Australia
Presentation is an important feature of any Research report submission. The following guide to presentation gives a general outline to report writing.
Title Page
Table of Contents
Executive Summary (should not exceed 300 words)
Introduction and Purpose
• State aims of the research report
• Outline contents of research report • Sources of data
Body of the Submission
• Analysis and discussion of issues
• Interpretation and discussion of data
• Summary of your analysis and interpretation; findings and results of your work
• Include raw data, charts and tables that are not essential to be included in the body of your report
• Calculations used or referred to
• References used
• Groups must present the main findings from their research including a critical analysis of the issues involved. All members of the group should be part of the presentation.
• Presentation cannot be deferred to another week. All presentations must take place in the week beginning Monday 5th October 2015
• Presentation is limited to 20 minutes per group. A presentation must cease after 20 mins.
• Presentation will be via use of ppt slides.
The research assignment must be submitted as a group. A group may consist of up to 4 students and a minimum of 3 students. A group project is the collective responsibility of the entire group, and if one member is temporarily unable to contribute, the group should be able to reallocate responsibilities to keep to schedule. In the event of longer-term illness, other serious problems involving a member of a project group or where equal contributions are not forthcoming and this cannot be resolved by the students themselves, it is the responsibility of the other members to make the project supervisor aware of the situation straight away.
The assignment must be submitted with a duly filled assignment cover sheet. All group members must be satisfied that the work has been correctly submitted. Any penalties for late submission will apply to all group members, not just the person who submitted. The penalty shall be at the rate of 2 marks per day late (including due day of report – if after 5pm).
• Page margins: Top - 2.54 cm; Bottom - 2.54 ?m; Left - 3.2 ?m; Right - 3.2 ?m.
• Paper: Portrait, A4 size (8.27 inch x 11.69 inch)
• Font size: 11 pt
• Line spacing: 1.5 lines
• Paragraph spacing: 6 pt
• Alignment: Justified
• Insert page numbers at the bottom of the page
? Your assignment must be via the Turnitin Facility available on Blackboard no later than 5.00pm on 5th October, 2015. Students must also keep an electronic or photocopied version of their assignment for evidentiary purposes.
? The electronic copy that you submit via the Turnitin facility should be named according to the following convention.
? Last name 1_Last name 2_ Last name 3_Last name 4 (in the case of a submission by a group of 4 students). E.g. Gregory_Vinen_Nguyen_Yin.doc
? A duly filled Assessment Cover Sheet must be submitted with your assignment. The standard Assessment Cover Sheet is available from the Current Students web site.
? To avoid plagiarism, you are required to provide a reference whenever you include information from other sources in your work. Further details regarding plagiarism are available in Section C of the unit outline.
? Referencing convention required for this unit is the Swinburne Harvard System. Helpful information on referencing using the Swinburne Harvard System can be found at:
Word count
The Report should not exceed 2000 words (+/- 10 per cent) (excluding title page, table of content, reference list and executive summary but including footnotes, endnotes and appendices). Please provide a word count on the cover sheet.
The rubric for marking this assignment is available on the Blackboard site of this unit.

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