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The zero-rated treatment of food: still equitable? Was it ever?
Curtin Law and Taxation Review (2014)
  • Tomas W Fitzgerald, The University of Notre Dame Australia
Abstract
This paper seeks to address the extent to which, in practice, the zero-rated
GST treatment of fresh food meets its stated goal of improving
the vertical equity of GST. To that end, it will discuss why GST on
non pre-prepared food was zero-rated and examine the extent to
which such a rationale is still congruent with contemporary data on
consumption. Additionally, it will be suggested that when the
standard measurements of a tax system’s effectiveness; equity,
efficiency and simplicity, are taken to include examination of a tax
system’s gender equity, the case for excluding food from GST
becomes more difficult to mount. Considered from the perspective of
gender-equity, the traditional arguments relating to vertical equity
are left wanting as the tax break incentivises domestic duties which
are disproportionately undertaken by women. It will be argued that
the desirability of the zero-rated treatment of some food should be
critically re-examined in light of changing patterns of consumption,
but also to improve the tax system’s gender equity
Disciplines
Publication Date
2014
Citation Information
Fitzgerald, T. (2014). The zero-rated treatment of food: still equitable? Was it ever? Curtin Law and Taxation Review, 1, 175-192