People want a fairer tax system: survey

Issue 
Most Australians: think that the tax system is unfair, and favours large corporations and the wealthy.

Remember the discussion the Coalition government was going to have with us about tax? You know, the one where “everything was on the table”?

Well, the metaphorical table, which started off as an enormous boardroom centrepiece carved from oak is now looking more like a tatty old cardtable with a wonky leg, as more and more items are dropped.

Even Treasurer Scott Morrison's near-daily mantra of "We have a spending problem, not a revenue problem" is apparently not resonating with most Australians.

Rather than continuing a one-sided discussion while seemingly plucking ideas out of thin-air, the government and opposition could save themselves a lot of anguish if they paid attention to the results of an annual tax survey conducted by independent, progressive think-tank Per Captia.

The survey, which sought the views of Australian tax payers, was revealing. It found most Australians: think that the tax system is unfair, and favours large corporations and the wealthy at the expense of other citizens; are prepared to pay more tax if it means better social services; think the problem is with revenue, not spending; and corporations and the wealthy should be made to pay their fair share by cracking down on tax minimisation and avoidance schemes.

In summarising the findings, Per Capita's executive director David Hetherington wrote: “These findings offer a clear expression of the Australian public's preferred fiscal policy. They'd like taxes raised to fund more spending on services, rather than see spending cut to reflect falling revenues. They'd like to see taxes increased and concessions reduced in ways that increase the overall fairness of the tax system, and they think that corporate tax avoidance in particular is the place to start.”

The survey, now in its sixth year, found that these views are held by an increasing majority of Australians.

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