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State taxes

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Federal State Relations in Australia

Vassiliki Koutsogeorgopulou and Annamaria Tuske, OECD (April 2015). Australia’s inter-governmental fiscal relations have gradually moved towards greater centralisation. State governments receive sizeable transfers from the federal government and own revenues only partially cover their expenses. Finding the right balance between federal control and state autonomy in public service provision and its financing has not been easy. Over time various compromises have somewhat blurred responsibilities in various functional areas or reduced incentives to raise sub-national revenues potentially affecting public sector efficiency and service quality. A better balance, one in which central government has less steerage over state activities and states have more financing autonomy but also bear increased responsibility is likely to improve outcomes. Federal-state shared responsibilities continue to affect the efficiency of healthcare service delivery in particular. A clearer delineation of roles in shared functions and possibly a reallocation of responsibilities in some cases, are important. There is also scope to reduce federal grant conditionality further to contain red tape and enhance transparency and give the states a more flexible allocation of funds. Strengthening states’ revenue raising by broadening existing tax bases would promote efficiency. Consideration could be given to the introduction of a state-level income tax. The government’s current review of the federal system, focusing on both spending and tax responsibilities, is welcome, as is the “whole of government” approach to the process.


National Tax Forum discussion paper
Australian Government (28 July 2011)

Discussion paper released by the Australian Government in the leadup to the National Tax Forum in October 2011, particularly dealing with the six sessions to be included at the forum: Personal tax, transfer payments, business tax, state taxes, environmental and social taxes, and tax system governance.


Taxation trends in the European Union
Eurostat (1 July 2011)

An overview of taxation in the European Union, by type of tax (consumption, labour income, company income and capital income), by level of government (federal, state, local), and by country.


OECD Tax Agenda 2011 – Taxes across levels of government levels
OECD (12 Apr 2011)

An excerpt from the OECD’s latest Tax Agenda brochure, outlining its current work in a variety of tax-related areas, including: Fiscal Relations across Levels of Governments.


Tax, Borrow, Spend: How the States Compare
Centre for Independent Studies (Feb 2011)

Compares the recent performance of the six Australian states under indicators such as debt, government spending, public sector job numbers and taxation.


IPA State Taxes Report
Institute for Public Affairs (Dec 2010)

A report by the Institute of Public Affairs (IPA), ‘The Size and Impact of State and Territory Government Business Taxes: The IPA State Business Tax Calculator’ including factsheets.


Tasmanian State Tax Review discussion paper
Tasmanian Department of Treasury and Finance (6 December 2010)

A discussion paper by the Tasmanian Tax Review Panel, which describes current State taxation arrangements and provides questions to guide submissions to the Review. Includes chapters on land and property taxes, payroll tax, gambling taxes, motor taxes and taxes relating to climate change. More details on the Review can be found at: www.treasury.tas.gov.au/statetaxreview


The Context and Drivers for State Tax Reform
Dr Ken Henry (19 Nov 2010)

Speech to CEDA – The Tasmanian State Tax Review in Hobart.


Note by Professor Neil Warren
States’ Taxation And The Henry Review


Taxation Reform and Fiscal Federalism
Ken Henry, Secretary to the Commonwealth Treasury, (19 August 2009)

Speech to the Australian Economic Forum.