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Taxing Capital Gains in Australia: Assessment and Recommendations

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Publication Date: March 2009

Publisher(s): Tax Policy Center

Author(s): Leonard E. Burman

Special Collection: John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation

Topic: Banking and finance (Taxation and tax policy)

Keywords: Federal Budgets & Fiscal Policy; Budget Issues; General Tax Policy; Fundamental Reform (Flat Tax, Sales Tax)

Type: Paper


One of the most vexing and contentious issues in taxation is the proper treatment of capital gains-the increase in value of an asset such as shares of company stock or a business. In principle, under an income tax, capital gains should be included in the tax base as they accrue. In practice, if they are taxed at all, capital gains are almost always taxed only when an asset is sold (or "realized") and generally at lower rates than other income.