A thorough review of Australia’s tax system for the better of future generations
House prices. Superannuation funds. Australia’s big four banks. These topics are steadily splashed across news headlines and have become common vernacular in conversations across Australia. With house prices skyrocketing, superannuation funds being exploited, and retail banks being notorious for charging hidden fees to its customers, Australian’s have reason to be raising issue. University of Tasmania senior lecturer John McLaren’s extensive research has found that to eliminate some of the root problems behind these issues, a call for tax reform is long overdue.
With a background in law and having worked in tax effective financing for one of the big four banks, McLaren’s interest in taxation piqued. His interest led him to complete a Master of Laws Degree, followed by a PhD in international tax. He has now been immersed in the world of academia for the past fifteen years, sharing his knowledge and experience with his students and peers.
Tax systems broad
Wanting to have a better understanding of his international students from Asian cultures, McLaren spent two years in Singapore, embedding himself in the culture. While in Singapore, McLaren noticed drastic differences in the tax system when compared with Australia. It was hard to ignore and not compare them. With a low company tax rate of seventeen per cent, Singapore collects more tax and relies heavily on consumption tax and GST rather than income tax. Comparatively, in Australia the tax system relies on a limited GST and income taxes, especially from companies, proving to have many adverse effects.
“The Henry Tax Review which took place under Kevin Rudd was the high-water mark of what we should be doing, but since this review there have been very minor changes to the system.
“With all research, the aim is for politicians to take note and consider it, but this takes courage as the political system is in difficult place. I’m hopeful for a time when both sides of parliament realize a change needs to be made for the good of Australia,” says McLaren.
Reviewing changes with a critical eye
McLaren’s has recently reviewed the government’s plans behind capital gains tax. McLaren says the plans would act as a disincentive for Australian’s looking to develop in their careers by taking a job overseas.
“If a parent within a family home is offered a job abroad and have a family home established in Australia, and that house was sold in order to advance in their career, the family home is now suddenly subject to tax on the capital gain.
“With government consistently wanting to modify tax law it’s critical for me to look at these laws to see who is going to be affected and what the implications are.”
McLaren’s hard work and research has not only been influencing policy makers, it’s also influencing students in the classroom. Noticing a need for a textbook on taxation law that was accessible to anyone no matter their background, McLaren and a team of academics published a textbook that is now used in taxation law classes around Australia. The textbook has set a benchmark and standard on the subject matter.
With aspirations to implement change within the tax system through research and education, McLaren’s ambitions remain high to ensure generations to come are at ease.
“I’m looking forward to the next election where taxation law should see some dramatic changes around negative gearing, dividend imputations and GST.
“It’s an exciting space to be in. Along with other academics and professionals, we can bring to light changes that should be made so future generations are not negatively impacted by the decisions that are being made today.”
Dr John McLaren is a senior lecturer in taxation at the Tasmanian School of Business and Economics within the discipline of Accounting.
John has had many years’ experience as a Barrister and Solicitor in private practice in Australia prior to becoming an academic. He held a senior management positions with the ANZ Bank Limited in their Tax-Effective Finance area involved with investments by the bank in leveraged leases. He also worked as an accountant and financial planner with an accounting and financial planning practice in Melbourne. Prior to joining RMIT in 2003 as a tenured lecturer, he was engaged in taxation consulting in his own Company for medium to large corporations and high net worth individuals. He is the co-author of several texts in taxation law, law of investments, cyber law, and commercial law.
|Degree||Thesis title||University||Country||Date of award|
University of Tasmania
Will tax havens survive in the new international legal environment?
|GCUTL||Charles Darwin University||Australia||13/07/2018|
CPA, Fellow Tax Institute, Member of the Australasian Tax Teachers Association, Barrister and Solicitor, High Court of Australia.
John has been coordinating taxation subjects for many years at various universities. He has been a member of various research committees at different universities where he mentored staff with the objective of increasing research output.
Taxation law, tax reform, international taxation, law of investments, taxation of trusts
John has taught taxation law at both undergraduate and post graduate levels. He has also taught advanced taxation law and international taxation law to both accounting and law students.
Joint Editor, Journal of Australian Taxation, (ABDC ranked ‘B’)
Member of the Scientific Council, International journal, Public Administration & Regional Studies, ISSN 2065-1759 (Indexed in EBSCO Host)
Australian National University, Crawford School of Public Policy, July 2017, ‘What shall we do with Company Tax?, presentation on the future of the dividend imputation system.
International taxation law, taxation reform, taxation of economic rent including minerals resources, taxation of land, taxation of superannuation and retirement funds, law of investments, taxation of corporations and taxation of trusts.
John’s research aligns with the University’s research themes of Creativity, Culture and Society and Environment, Resources and Sustainability. His research into tax reform has wide reaching implications for society but also resources and sustainability. This is particularly evidenced with his research into the mineral resource rent tax and land tax.
John has collaborated with research academics from James Cook University in Singapore; with academics from the University of Le Havre, in France; academics from the University of Derby in the UK and academics on indigenous issues at Charles Darwin University in Darwin, NT. All of the collaborations relate to research into international taxation issues that affect not just Australia.
John is currently researching new taxation laws effecting tax whistleblowers and the abolition of the capital gains tax exemption for the family home if the owner becomes a non-resident of Australia.
Fields of Research
- Taxation Law (180125)
- Taxation Accounting (150107)
- Accounting Theory and Standards (150101)
- Accounting, Auditing and Accountability (150199)
- International Accounting (150104)
- Ability and Disability (940101)
- Finance Services (900101)
- Taxation (910110)
- Electoral Systems (940202)
- Professional, Scientific and Technical Services (900202)
- Superannuation and Insurance Services (900103)
John has published extensively in taxation journals on tax reform issues such as the minerals resource rent tax and land tax over the past 10 years. John is currently the joint editor of the Journal of Australian Taxation which is ranked ‘B’ on the ABDC list of journals.
Journal Article(26 outputs)
|2019||McLaren J, 'Laws to protect tax whistleblowing in Australia: what does this mean for taxpayers and the taxation profession', Australian Tax Review, 48 Article AT REV 24. ISSN 0311-094X (2019) [Refereed Article]|
|2019||McLaren J, 'Laws to protect tax whistleblowing in Australia: what does this mean for taxpayers and the taxation profession', Australian Tax Review, 48 pp. 24-41. ISSN 0311-094X (2019) [Refereed Article]|
|2019||McLaren J, Kendall W, Rook L, 'Would the Singaporean approach to whistleblower protection laws work in Australia?', Australasian Accounting, Business and Finance Journal, 13, (1) pp. 90 -108. ISSN 1834-2000 (2019) [Refereed Article]|
Citations: Scopus - 1Web of Science - 1
|2018||Pfitzner D, McLaren J, 'Microbusinesses in Australia: a robust definition', Australasian Accounting Business & Finance Journal, 12, (3) pp. 4-18. ISSN 1834-2000 (2018) [Refereed Article]|
Citations: Scopus - 1Web of Science - 1
|2018||McLaren J, Cormick R, 'Dividend imputation: a critical review of the future of the system', Australian Tax Forum: A Journal of Taxation Policy, Law and Reform, 33, (1) pp. 141-161. ISSN 0812-695X (2018) [Refereed Article]|
|2017||McLaren J, 'The economic development of northern Australia: A critical review of the taxation benefits and incentives both past and present and the potential taxation options for the future', Journal of the Australasian Tax Teachers Association, 12, (1) pp. 1-22. ISSN 1832-911X (2017) [Refereed Article]|
|2017||McLaren J, Passant J, 'Leasehold property and the deductibiIity of stamp duty', Australian Tax Law Bulletin, 4, (3) pp. 44-46. ISSN 2203-9481 (2017) [Refereed Article]|
|2016||McLaren J, Yeo A, Sweet M, 'Australia is facing a housing affordability crisis: is the solution to this problem the Singapore model of housing?', Australasian Accounting Business & Finance Journal, 10, (4) Article 4. ISSN 1834-2000 (2016) [Refereed Article]|
Citations: Web of Science - 3
|2016||Jones D, Passant J, McLaren J, 'Doubt about the central management and control residency test for companies?', Journal of Australian Taxation, 18, (1) pp. 121-142. ISSN 1440-0405 (2016) [Refereed Article]|
|2015||McLaren J, 'The taxation of foreign investment in Australia by sovereign wealth funds: why has Australia not passed laws enshrining the doctrine of sovereign immunity?', Journal of Australian Taxation, 17, (1) pp. 53-84. ISSN 1440-0405 (2015) [Refereed Article]|
|2015||McLaren J, Passant J, 'The mineral resource rent tax has been repealed: is it now time for a better-designed resource rent tax on all extracted minerals and gas?', Journal of the Australasian Tax Teachers Association, 10, (1) pp. 87-102. ISSN 1832-911X (2015) [Refereed Article]|
|2015||Passant J, McLaren J, Silaen P, Wickramasinghe A, 'The Asian Development Model and mining reforms in Indonesia', Australasian Accounting Business & Finance Journal, 9, (2) Article 5. ISSN 1834-2000 (2015) [Refereed Article]|
Citations: Scopus - 1Web of Science - 1
|2014||Cormick R, McLaren J, 'The current retirement system in Australia needs to be more attuned to a mobile international workforce: a case for reform', Australian Tax Forum, 29 pp. 493-516. ISSN 0812-695X (2014) [Refereed Article]|
|2014||McLaren J, 'A uniform land tax in Australia: What is the potential for this to be a reality post the Henry Tax Review'?', Australian Tax Forum, 29 pp. 43-58. ISSN 0812-695X (2014) [Refereed Article]|
|2014||McLaren J, 'The Australian Capital Territory has adopted measures to abolish stamp duty and impose a land tax on all real property: Will this approach be adopted by other States in Australia?', Journal of the Australasian Tax Teachers Association, 8, (1) pp. 1-14. ISSN 1832-911X (2014) [Refereed Article]|
|2014||Passant J, McLaren J, Silaen P, 'Are returns received by householders from electricity generated by solar panels assessable income?', Australian Tax Review, 43, (4) pp. 263 - 280. ISSN 0311-094X (2014) [Refereed Article]|
|2012||Casey R, McLaren J, Passant J, 'Long service leave in Australia: an examination of the options for a national long service leave minimum standard', Journal of Applied Law and Policy, (2012) pp. 17-37. ISSN 1836-6953 (2012) [Refereed Article]|
|2012||McLaren J, 'Petroleum and mineral resource rent taxes: could these taxation principles have a wider application?', Macquarie Law Journal, 10 pp. 43-58. ISSN 1445-386X (2012) [Refereed Article]|
|2012||Passant J, McLaren J, 'The 'review of Australia's future tax system': Implication for local government in Australia and recommendations', Local Government Law Journal, 17, (4) pp. 243-258. ISSN 1324-1265 (2012) [Refereed Article]|
|2011||McLaren J, 'Residential property, commercial property, Goods and Services Tax and deregistration: a case study on how the GST law may have been manipulated', Canberra Law Review, 10, (3) pp. 125-138. ISSN 1320-6702 (2011) [Refereed Article]|
|2011||McLaren J, Chabal P, 'Given the fact that Australia has had a Petroleum Resource Rent Tax' since 1987, why should there be any opposition to a Mineral Resource Rent Tax'?', Journal of the Australasian Tax Teachers Association, 6, (1) pp. 20-37. ISSN 1832-911X (2011) [Refereed Article]|
|2010||McLaren J, 'Exchange of information agreements with tax havens: how will this affect the rights of non-resident taxpayers and investors?', Journal of the Australasian Tax Teachers Association, 5, (1) pp. 1-21. ISSN 1832-911X (2010) [Refereed Article]|
|2010||McLaren JA, Passant J, 'Tax havens: do they have a future providing banking and financial services?', Canberra Law Review, 9, (3) pp. 1-23. ISSN 1839-2660 (2010) [Refereed Article]|
|2009||McLaren J, 'Should the international income of an Australian resident be taxed on a worldwide or territorial basis?', Journal of the Australasian Tax Teachers Association, 4, (1) pp. 71-94. ISSN 1832-911X (2009) [Refereed Article]|
|2009||McLaren J, 'The OECD's harmful tax competition' project: Is it international tax law?', Australian Tax Forum, 24 pp. 421-454. ISSN 0812-695X (2009) [Refereed Article]|
|2006||McLaren J, 'The tax offset for entrepreneurs: a critical review of the 25 per cent tax offset for small business', Journal of Australasian Tax Teachers Association, 2, (1) pp. 107-120. ISSN 1832-911X (2006) [Refereed Article]|
2016, Faculty of Law, Education, Business and Arts - $4,000 to research funding for indigenous community enterprises using tax credits similar to the US.
2012, Faculty of Business, Government and Law, University of Canberra - $2,300 to prepare an ARC linkage grant application with the University of NSW, UTS and the Local Government Association.
2011, AusAid - $2,000 to conduct research on Islamic Banking and Finance taxation and its implication for Australia. Presentation to Iraqi Taxation Officials.
2011, Australian Local Government Association - $15,000 to prepare a report on the ‘Henry Tax Review’ and its implications for local government.
2010, Faculty of Law, University of Canberra - $6,500 to conduct research on the Mineral Resource Rent Tax including a visit to the OECD in Paris.
John is currently co-supervising a PhD student at the ANU and a PhD student at the University of Canterbury, NZ. He is actively researching in the area of taxation law and is keen to supervise HDR students interested in taxation law.
|Masters||What are the social, economic, taxation, finance and entrepreneurial issues facing Tasmanians engaged in small-scale grape-growing and wine-making in Tasmania?||2019|