A ustralian income tax law can be very complicated and difficult to understand. You may need to thumb through two income tax assessment Acts equivalent in size to four telephone books, thousands of income tax rulings and a library full of legal books to find the right answer!
The dominant purpose of the income tax legislation is to raise revenue by levying a tax on taxable income. The tax Acts point out that assessable income minus deductions equals taxable income, and then tell you the rules you need to follow to calculate your assessable income and allowable deductions. The Acts also tell you who must pay income tax and how to work out how much income tax you must pay.
Generally, you have a choice of two ways to solve your tax liability problems: You can either pay a registered tax agent or solicitor who specialises in income tax law, or you can try to find out the answer yourself. If you pay someone, you quickly find that the meter starts ticking the moment you walk through the door or pick up the phone. Although seeking professional advice is highly recommended and encouraged, you need never underestimate your own abilities. If you use basic research skills that you acquired during your student days plus the skills you use to do your job, you may be pleasantly surprised at how adept you are at taking on responsibility for your own tax journey.
So, if you have a winning edge — the skills to do basic research — why not have a go? If you can’t solve your problem ...