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Abstract

Tax harmonisation between countries has been frequently advocated but progress has tended to be slow and uncertain. This article suggest that the degree of harmonisation sought has often been vague and that more progress might be made if it were generally agreed how far the progress should go. The paper examines the case for tax harmonisation and its meaning - concluding that tax harmonisation is consistent with fiscal regional diversity. In Europe the principle of "subsidiarity" has been invoked to attempt to resolve conflict between overall harmonisation while retaining diversity among Member States. The European experience with corporate tax harmonisation is analysed and compared with progress between Australia and New Zealand. It is concluded that technological change will increase the importance of tax harmonisation and greater progress might be made if the aims of tax harmonisation were clearer, specific and modest. In particular it might be advantageous if the degree of harmonisation sought were limited and seen to be consistent with regional variation in taxation.

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