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Australia’s contribution to achieving global food security: to what extent can reform of the federal research and development tax incentives assist?

Roberts, Victoria, Taxation and Business Law, Australian School of Business, UNSW

2015

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  • Title:
    Australia’s contribution to achieving global food security: to what extent can reform of the federal research and development tax incentives assist?
  • Author/Creator/Curator: Roberts, Victoria, Taxation and Business Law, Australian School of Business, UNSW
  • Subjects: Global food security; R&D; Research and Development Tax Incentive; Agriculture; Tax policy; Innovation; R&D tax incentive; Pragmatism; Sustainability; Japan; South Africa; United States; Australia; Comparative tax research; Socio-legal; Tax reform; Global social challenge
  • Resource type: Thesis
  • Type of thesis: Ph.D.
  • Date: 2015
  • Supervisor: McKerchar, Margaret, Taxation and Business Law, Australian School of Business, UNSW; Stoianoff, Natalie, University of Technology, Sydney
  • Language: English
  • Additional Information: Thesis restricted until March 2017.
  • Grants: Scheme - N/A
  • Permissions: This work can be used in accordance with the Creative Commons BY-NC-ND license.
    Please see additional information at https://library.unsw.edu.au/copyright/for-researchers-and-creators/unsworks

  • Description: This thesis proposes a legislative model Research and Development Tax Incentive(RDTI) for Australia to stimulate greater private investment in agricultural researchand development (R&D), thereby increasing Australia’s contribution to global foodsecurity. A review of the food security literature demonstrates that underinvestmentin agricultural R&D is diminishing the world’s capacity to sustainablyprovide food security for all. The international literature on tax policy and reform,whilst generally silent on the specific challenge of food security, does confirm thepositive role that taxation measures can potentially play in assisting with contemporarysocial challenges. Guided by pragmatism, this socio-legal reform orientated thesisundertakes comparative case studies of RDTIs from Japan, South Africa and theUnited States to elicit their strengths and weaknesses and identify best practice. Thesefindings, together with a critical analysis of the existing Australian RDTI law, aredrawn together in developing the proposed legislative model. The merit of themodel is also considered in terms of the widely accepted criteria of a good taxsystem, namely certainty and administrative efficiency (including simplicity andcompliance costs), in conjunction with the potential to contribute to global foodsecurity. In an attempt to integrate taxation and innovation with other economicobjectives, the model RDTI legislatively incorporates national strategic research prioritiesto produce a more cohesive approach to R&D reform. This approach is designed todirect finite government funding towards targeted areas of national concern. It isenvisioned that the model Australian RDTI could be adopted by other tax jurisdictions,or alternatively, adapted to encourage innovative approaches to other social challenges(domestic or global) in a relatively flexible and timely manner. The thesis demonstratesboth the potential and merit for innovative tailoring of tax provisions which embracebenevolent aspirations alongside national economic objectives. The model RDTI is anexample of how well-drafted legislation underpinned by clear policy intent can drivemeaningful and strategic tax reform for the betterment of society as a whole.

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