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Mineral Resource Rent Tax Policy Cause and Effect Essay


The global financial predicament affected several governments to search for new approaches of getting revenues. A prosperous nation such as Australia established a Resource Rent Tax in order to replace the Royalty Based Program. It was perceived as a prefect strategy which would enhance effectiveness of Resource Taxation.

The Mineral Resource Rent Tax was an important policy that would enable a fair redistribution of prosperity acquired from mining industry to all Australian citizens.

Nevertheless, political revolution happened due to the fact that the Australian government proclaimed the tax policy as an absolute system rather than negotiating and engaging with investors in order to build a convincing coalition to enable reformation through the resource taxation process.

This caused a media protest against the tax initiative by mining firms that triggered political strife, including the dismissal of former Australian Prime Minister Kelvin Rudd, who was democratically elected.

After removal of the former prime minster, important compromise was conferred between the newly appointed Prime Minister Gillard Julia, and the big mining firms that introduced Mineral Resources Rent Tax (MRRT) as a policy that replaced Resource Supper Profit Tax (RSPT). It was perceived that the Resource Supper Profit Tax (RSPT) was oppressing both local and foreign investors because of high taxation rate imposed on them.

The challenges encountered by Australian government in implementing vital taxation policy emphasize the significant roles which stakeholders could perform for policy making in a democratic society. This paper would analyze impacts of MRRT policy on operation of mining firms; it also evaluate effects prior to and after establishment of the MRRT plan on Austrian economy.

Mineral Resource Rent Tax Policy (MRRT)

“On 2011 10th June, the Australian government established the Mineral Resource Rent Tax (MRRT) policy into the parliament” (Daniel, Keen & Mcpherson, 2010, p.33). The MRRT policy would be applicable to both existing and upcoming coal and Ore firms in Australia; it would be charged at thirty percent rate of taxable gain acquired by mining firms starting from July 1st 2012.

The policy was proposed following a conference with the resource sectors; the government selected Policy Transition Group (PTG) headed by the Minister of Resource Management to confer with the stakeholders of the mining industry.

Fardin claimed that this convention was meant to generate appropriate recommendations to the federal government concerning advancement of technical system of the newly proposed MRRT (2011, p.67).The Australian government would focus on how to generate $ 10.6 billion from the Mineral Resource Rent Tax policy in the first initial three years in operation.

According to Golob, the MRRT policy was expected to expand the coverage of the present Petroleum Resource Rent Tax (PRRT); in such a way that as from 2012 1st July the proposed tax policy would be applicable to both Offshore and Onshore gas and oil generation systems in the country (1995, p. 78).

“The Mineral Resource Rent Tax (MRRT) would eventually be passed into regulation only on certain mining firms, though not on equal basis because some mining companies would be exempted form the taxation policy” (Johnston, 2005, p. 89).

Resource Supper Profit Tax (RSPT)

Herring affirmed that the Australian government imposed extra charges on the utility of non-renewable resources (2010, p. 69).The mining companies in Australia had to contribute royalties to former existing government. As a matter of fact, “most royalties depend on value of production output of the mining company at the time of balancing” (Luong & Weinthal, 2010, pp. 20-22).

Natural resources were considered as an essential factor of production just like capital and labor. The Australian government imposed levy duties upon non-renewable resources due to many justifications. For example, non renewable resources were depleting when used, hence tax collected by the government would be used in other essential investment programs in the nation.

Walter perceived that Resources Super Profit Tax (RSPT) was established to substitute the collection of royalties which mining firms paid to the Australian government (2011, pp. 10-11).

“The RSPT strategy was expected to tax any gain (profit) made from mining firms which was above six percent of Capital Investment that was subjected to be taxable at forty percent rate” (Otto, 1995, p. 43). Mining firms contributed royalties to the government differently depending on minerals mined.

Graetz & Warren claimed that the RSPT expected the mining firms to pay forty percent of their output gain as royalties to the federal government (2006, p.4). However, mining investors rejected RSPT due to its high taxation charges; this led to establishment of MRRT that recommended a reduced tax amount of thirty percent tax of the profit gained by the mining company.

“There was a strong contention that Australian citizens deserved to obtain a fair share of national profit reaped from non renewable resources” (Barde, 1999, p. 2). This was actually the reason why the MRRT policy was formed.

Although, Australian citizens benefited from mining boom, certain industries performed poorly; this was because of high demand of Australian resources eventually raised cost of Australian products to be higher (Auty, 2001, pp.67-72). This negatively affected manufacturers and farmers who exported goods and services from the country. This made exported products to be expensive to foreign customers.

Mining companies performed well in the market but exporters were doomed financially. This called for a new mining taxation policy that would reduce company tax from forty percent to thirty percent rate tax. This led to introduction of MRRT that substituted RSPT.

The MRRT policy exempted other business companies from paying tax. Brawley & Dixon asserted that MRRT policy was intended to resolve the imbalance economy of Australia that would ensure that the mining boom industry would benefit every Australian citizen (2009, p. 53).

Economic reforms ensured that mining taxation would be enable average employees to obtain an estimate of $ 450 each year due to reduced mining tax program; this would also exempt some companies from paying tax (Montrie, 2003, p.45).

It was expected that food cost would reduced by 0.7 %, footwear and clothing prices would decrease by 1.2%, communication cost would reduce by 1.5%, transportation and housing cost would decrease by 0.8 and 1.0 % respectively. Besides that, inflation rate would reduce by 1.2 that in turn would increase clients’ interest rate that eventually would increase Australian GDP by 0.8%.

The anticipated Mineral Resources Tax program was focused to fund a minimization of the business tax rate; to enhance infrastructural investment policies and to promote superannuation contribution (Herring, 2010, p.30).

The RSPT debate captured much attention from the public that caused the downfall of Rudd Kelvin, the former Australian prime minister. Resource super profit tax (RSPT) was actually complicated; many naughty comments were made about the taxation policy.

In Australia, “there was global appetite to sustain business enterprises that could continue for long term basis; this caused much demand from international economies” (Lamb, 2002, pp. 189-191).The Australian government fortunately recognized mining industry as a sector that would contribute a fair share for the huge gains it would be making in trade.

Freedam viewed that the RSPT entailed that the taxation policy for the resources mined were taxed according to royalties levied upon revenue percentage collected from the mining companies (2006, p. 12). The royalties were charged by the Australian government to grasp and redistribute the profits from mining industry and sales of resource products which belonged to every Australian citizen.

However, “being that 40% of BHP’s investors were non-Australian individuals; showed that Australian citizens would not necessarily benefit from all gains generated from the mining industry” (Otto, 2006, p. 203). This also meant that small firms might pay more royalties comparing their taxation contribution to huge companies that benefited from the economies of scale.

The reality was that RSPT policy was complicated than what stakeholders thought of; the policy was drafted with common misconception. Furthermore, the existing companies expected the RSPT policy to be applicable to new upcoming firms only. This was because the existing mining companies claimed that tax retrospective function did not favor them thus they wished that taxation charges to be shifted to new companies.

According to Suter, “there was a contentious debate concerning government’s utility of Long Term Bond Rate of 6% as unsuitable recommendation to measure government gain toward 40% share of company cost” (2006, p.3). Mining industry wished that RSPT policy to be applicable to resources or products but not upon mining projects; claiming that there were great variation between Coal Ore projects and natural resources.

This meant that the government failed to consult various stakeholders when designing the RSPT tax policy. Such inappropriate policy portrayed how the Australian government risked affecting its economy. It could be concluded that RSPT policy on mining industry upon Australian economy was in vain.

Through the Australian government concession, the RSPT policy was abolished, and therefore was replaced by MRRT guiding principles. Whereas the RSPT focused on two thousand and five hundred firms, the MRRT policy would only involve 320 firms on taxation program.

This showed that the MRRT policy would exempt some companies from paying tax. The MRRT policy would be applicable to Coal and Iron Ore mining firm on taxable program, however, the taxation policy would be not be imposed on Nickel, Copper, Uranium and Nickel mining firms. While the RSPT tax rate was 40%, the MRRT tax rate would be reduced to 30%.

Emerson & Lloyd stated that the MRRT policy would have 25% mining allowance that would be subtracted from the tax liability, thus making a fresh rate of MRRT to be 22.5%”(1981, p.104). The MRRT policy would take its course as from 2012 1st July. Many investors welcomed the MRRT strategy because miners conferred a reformation to the retrospective entity of RSPT.

Barde opened that mining investors still expected to reduce the liability of MRRT plan through valuing their firms either on recent market price or historical cost basis (1999, p. 2). In case, the historical cost adopted, mining investors would increase their market values from 12% to 13% prior to calculation of tax liability.

On the other hand, when the recent market prices adopted, there would be no increase in investors’ gains. All these strategies were analyzed to enable investors to look forward on how to minimize MRRT tax liabilities.

Benefits of MRRT

The mining boom was a grand boost to the Australian economy because it would generate new investments and open job opportunities. It was important to recall that mining activity was an occupation that was quite different from other industries. Iron and coal ore were natural resources that should be fairly owned by all Australian citizens; once they are sold, they can never be renewed.

The aim of this policy was to examine effective approach to support future exploitation and to ascertain a stream of fresh resource firms for future production. Mining sector held a constructive conference that concluded to abolish the contentious Resource Supper Profits Tax (RSPT) policy in order to replace it with MRRT (Mineral Resources Rent Tax).

“Rudd Kevin, the former Prime Minster of Australia had declared that his government was intending to established RSPT 40% mining gains (taxable amount) from mining industries” (Daniel, Keen & Mcpherson, 2010, p. 34). Such a move, however, provoked heated response from miners that led to deferment or cancellation of some strategized business investments.

One of the concerned issues was the high amount of RSPT tax and its severe implications to the preset firms. Nevertheless, the current Prime Minster, Gillard Julia, responded faster in order to prevent angry strife between petroleum industries with the government in the national history. According to MRRT policy, the tax rate was reduced to thirty percent; charged on taxable gain from mining companies.

The proposed tax would be operational commencing on 2012 1st July, which would be applicable for only Coal and Iron Ore resources; in fact other mineral companies were not included in this policy. Actually, the mining sector was impressed toward Gillard’s policy.

The mining industry was motivated by the existing government’s strategy. Fardin perceived that the mining firms accepted the fresh policy that would represent an important development to the mineral taxation programs which would suit mining industry’s chief regulating standards (2011, p. 70).

Gillard, the Australian Prime Minister, opened that the new resource tax negotiation was aimed to restore government intention to provide effective services to all Australian citizens since national’s natural resources were owned by all national citizens; when exploited could never be once renewed.

The MRRT was a tax policy that would be competitive, prospective resource based and differentiated strategy which would ascertain mining industry to develop through investment in the business projects; therefore the policy would benefit all citizens.

“The MRRT policy was affirmed regulations of sound tax reforms” (Huang & Austin, 2011, p. 191). Mining industry was expected to continue to collaborate with the government in order to ascertain that the formulated policy of Mineral Taxation would sustain the global competitiveness of Australian resource sector into the future prospective.

Natural resources such as Silver, Uranium, Copper and Gold were not included in the MRRT policy; these were business gains for hugest hole on earth ever dug on the surface of the world. “This meant that the Olympic Mine Dam (a mining firm) would not be included in the MRRT policy” (Golob, 1995, p.78).

The MRRT policy was the initial stage toward a more effective taxation to the profits reaped from the mining boom; in fact, not a single penny that was reaped for MRRT plan would be obtained from Olympic Mine Dam.

Olympic Mine Dam was one of the Australian hugest mines that were expected to generated billion of money in business operation of Silver, Gold, Uranium and Copper; however none of such resources would be included in the Mineral Resource Rent Tax Policy.

Johnston viewed that, though many mining firms were impressed with the MRRT policy, people who would lose life-time opportunity were the coming future generation because their natural resources are being given away in a meager amount (2005, p. 89).

The mineral resources were being exploited leaving the future generation with nothing but massive toxic heritage of their world largest radioactive waste deposits.

Nevertheless, many mining companies in Australia endorsed MRRT strategy because of its effectiveness; the MRRT regime still needed to be amended in order to reap a fair profit from national shared mineral resources to empower the return of projects which would benefit every Australian citizen, for instance the need to strengthen public education of the nation.

Australian government scrapped the Resource Supper Profit Tax (RSPT) and formulated a fresh tax policy upon Iron and Coal Ore industries that was called Mineral Resources Rent Tax (MRRT). The MRRT policy would minimize the amount of taxpayers from more than two thousand companies to 320 firms.

Lamb stated that the new plan also proposed to expand the already existing Petroleum Resources Rent Tax (PRRT) which would cover the Onshore Gas and Oil firms, as well as the North West Shelf and Seam Coal Gas (2002, p.56). The MRRT policy proposed a low tax rate of 22.5%; a further reduction from headline rate of 30% that was previously from 40% of RSPT rate.

The MRRT strategy proposed a twenty five percent mining allowance that meant to reduce MRRT gross liability to every affected firm. The proposed MRRT represented essential principles; however, it would need widespread analysis and design prior to implementation. The affected mining firms were expected to deliver input to the strategized transition process.

The newly proposed MRRT was designed to minimized tax burden from investors. The Gillard government intended to scrape the former declared resource discovery rebate (RSPT); it also focused to abolish State royalties and incurred losses refundability.

Montrie affirmed that the expansion strategy of PRRT and planned MRRT was expected to enhance competiveness of Australian economy and to motivate Australian resource mining firms (2003, p. 45). Nevertheless, the proposed MRRT needed a detailed evaluation by resource mining firms and investors in the country, and to analyze its global impacts on upcoming investment proposals.

It was good that big mining firms and the Gillard government agreed to introduce the MRRT course of action. “The uplift rate of unsubstrated expenditure was based on Long Term Bond Rate (LTBR) together with 7 % loading per year” (Suter, 2009, p.4). Nevertheless, the MRRT plan would still be derived from project gains prior to interest expense.

Therefore the debt funded investors would have to put into consideration the financial debt implications of affected companies. However, “the Gillard government abolished the refund proposal concerning termination of loss incurring firms; this might affect small investors and firms operating on single projects” (Walter, 2011, p. 16).

Implications of MRRT

The MRRT strategy was a profit oriented focus which would provide an objective share of profits from trade practice of non-renewable resources to every Australian citizen. Gillard Julia, the Australian Prime Minster, conferred the deal with big mining firms to strengthen the national resources and promotion of regional mining societies not only now but also in the future.

“The MRRT plan was an essential policy that would ensure that citizens prosper from the national minerals” (Auty, 2001, p.71). In the previous decade, the cost of Coal and Iron Ore has increased on global markets. For instance, since the year 2003, the contract cost of Iron Ore has risen more than 500%.

Nevertheless, the Australian government has not gotten a fair share of the bonus profits reaped from royalty expenses. In the previous decade, the share of mining revenues has doubled. The nation used to get $1 for each $ 3 income during the last decade; but currently Australia gets $ 1 for every $ 7earnings.

The mining revenues increased in 2008-09 by $ 80 billion than the previous decade; however the Australian government only accumulated an extra of $ 9 billion in profit.

Walter opened that natural resources in Australian nation were owned by all citizens, and therefore all citizens were justified to receive a fair share of the national wealth (2011, p.16). This was the fundamental nature and drive of MRRT plan; it was a mechanism that was focused to receive a fairer cost on national resources which could only be sold once thus can never be renewed.

Brawley & Dixon claimed that the Gillard government was focused to raise $ 10.5 billion using the Mineral Resource Rent Tax (MRRT) approach for the initial two years in operation (2009, p. 58). The revenues accumulated would be utilized to finance a tax reduction for Australian business functions and to enhance living standards of hard working families.

The profit collected would be used to develop local communities through building various communal infrastructures. Indeed, all Australian employees deserved to receive a suitable and secured financial retirement. Under the operation of MRRT, the superannuation for workers would increase from wages of 9% to 12% minimum rate.

The low class families would get a maximum of $ 500 in a year through a fresh government rebate that concerned super contributions. Recently, women have doubled their super savings than their male counterparts. This meant that a woman would receive an extra $ 78,000 for retirement as a service of caring her family during off work.

Graetz & Warren perceived that superannuation contributions would obtain tax concession from the Gillard administration (2006, p.4). Most Australian citizens would, therefore, pay a reduced amount on super contribution than what they pay for their wages.

The MRRT policy would enable the Gillard government to provide for the concession on the extra superannuation input; it would cost $ 2.4 billion to be funded by the federal government. Besides that, the tax packages would enable employers to fund additional super contribution by reduction of their firm tax.

“The Mineral Resource Rent Tax would reduce firm tax to twenty nine percent and even much further; actually, small business would be given the first priority to get the tax reduction in 2012-13” (Luong & Weinthal, 2010, p. 24). Small business would also be advantageous to receive the direct Write off Assets to a maximum rate of $ 5,000. The Mineral Resource Rent Tax would boost development in local communities.

The MRRT would provide 4.6 billion for local infrastructural fund which would be invested in developing projects on the regional mining societies. This was to make certain that local Australian families obtain vital societal infrastructures to enhance vibrant urban places for younger generation to live in.

Contentious Issues on MTTR

“The policy Of Mineral and Resource Rent Tax was undergoing hot debate particularly for local investors who affirmed that the tax policy discriminated against them” (Otto, 2006, p.205). Currently, the domestic firms were organizing to create a constitutional challenge against the accepted newly proposed MTTR plan.

Local mining companies claimed that the tax base would be unjustifiably narrow that aimed to seek revenues from three hundred and twenty taxpayers on only two natural resources: Iron and Coal ores.

“Domestic firms perceived that the MRRT policy would be a volatile tax strategy that would be faced with big fluctuation influenced by pricing of international commodities; it would be inappropriate to fund on the continuing budget operations” (Freedam, 2006, p.12).

It emerged that the endorsed MRRT policy was derived out of a private consultation between the leading mining companies (Xstrata, BHP Billiton and Rio Tinto) and Australian government.

The strategy was then recommended by the Government Advisory Committee called Policy Transition Group (PTG) that discharged ninety four recommendations of the proposed MRRT plan.

According to the current stipulation, the MRRT policy would not be imposed upon Copper, Uranium, Nickel and Gold yields; this implied that international mining companies such as AngloGold, Newmont and Newcrest would be exempted from MRRT taxation policy. Rio Tinto and BHP have monopolized Uranium market while the Olympic Mine Dam was the leading company on Copper mines.

However, some investors perceived that Mineral Resources Rent Tax (MRRT) was crucial on the Australian economic reforms which would enable the country reap the profits of mining boom; MRRT policy was a genuine labor reform since it would ascertain that all Australian citizens would share profits of the mining boom, in fact it was not for few individuals.

Emerson & Lloyd 1981 viewed that the MRRT policy was greatly needed since everybody was aware that the mining boom would not last forever; the resources were naturally made and could be mined and sold once (1981, p.105). Such resources were owned by every Australian citizen, and actually not by mining firms. It was therefore seen that every citizens should benefits from the resources.

The only excellent profitable mining firms would participate in the MRRT policy, therefore the contributed amount would be meant to build the national economy, job creation, national saving and infrastructural developments. “The Gillard government would increase superannuation fund to 8.4 million employees that would enhance national savings in the year 2035 by $ 500 billion” (Otto, 1995, p.205).

Crucial investment on infrastructural development on bridge and road etc would be promoted by mining industry. The Gillard government would be in a position to provide superannuation input for 3.6 million low earners, this would be meant for individuals who earn low than $ 37,000.

The Ministry of Labor worked hard to ensure that the economy of Australia remained strong by motivating working people, hence spreading the profits of the mining boom in the development programs of the economy. The big mining firms permitted that the Mineral Resources Rent Tax policy would yield $ 10.5 billion to the national communities.

However, “there was a controversial issue surrounding MRRT; some investors opposed the recommendation of MRRT, and thus wished MRRT to be abolished” (Daniel, Keen & Mcpherson, 2010, p. 35).

Some investors claimed that, in case the MRRT policy was scrapped, the Liberal Party would decline three percent increase in the Super Saving scheme; hence this would hinder working citizens and their families to retire with monetary security. This showed that the Liberal Party would terminate the fresh government refund on super contribution for low class people; the Liberal Party would not be in a position to reduce Company Tax.

Finally, Liberal Party would also terminate $ 6 billion to be invested in regional societies through local infrastructural fund. However, other people perceive to challenge the Gillard government over the MRRT policy, claiming that the policy was poorly designed policy.

According to Graetz & Warren, the MRRT policy would create unfair advantage through reduction of overall cost hence giving a fair advantage to the big mining companies; this would be unfair to small mining firms (2006, p.4).This policy would limit investment of the nation whereby investors of Coal and Iron projects would encourage investment projects in other nations away from Australia.

Some investors felt that mining was the main backbone economy of Australia; thus the MRRT policy would hurt the national economy. Johnston opened that supposing the MRRT policy would not be abolished, there have to be tax equality that would be liable to all firms (2005, p.89). Legislative reformation must be established to ascertain that small miners contributed equal tax rate paid by big miners.

Actually, fairness and objective principles should be attained on equitable base in the mining sector where all investors have equal playing levels. Some economic analysts expected the Gillard government to scrape the financial and assumption modeling that was used to approximate anticipated revenue of MRRT policy.

Montrie asserted that research showed that there would be no substantial contribution toward MRRT policy since leading mining companies such as Rio Tinto and BHP Billiton would not be contributing tax amount toward MRRT policy (2003, p. 45). It would be impossible for Gillard government to raise the expected $ 11 billion from mining Coal and Iron Ore projects.

In fact, the proposed revenues would not be achieved because the leading three Iron Ore mining companies were exempted for paying tax by MRRT policy.

The Gillard government was aware that the financial model of MRRT policy would not be possible yet it persisted to claim that big mining companies would contribute ninety percent of the tax contribution; this would be impossible. The MRRT policy does not make sense because it would not work.


The Mineral Resource Rent Tax (MRRT) would fail because the Australian government have not negotiated and communicated with all stakeholders upon the proposed tax policy. An effective method could have been adopted to utilize a strategic communication in order to develop coalition of all stakeholders to embrace reform process through the MRRT policy.

Negotiation process would enable important recommendations to be included in the tax reform. The strategy development process should be comprehensive in order to sustain dialogue between the private sectors and Australian government, and to attend stakeholder workshops involving all participants.

Nevertheless, the Australian government should strategically negotiate with all stakeholders, especially mining firms in order to generate a coalition policy which would be important to establish reforms to the Mineral Resource Rent Tax (MRRT) plan.

Reference List

Auty, R M 2001, Resource Abundance and Economic Development, Oxford University Press, Oxford.

Barde, JP 1999, “Green Tax Reforms in OECD Countries: An Overview”, Journal of Business Administration and Policy Analysis, vol. 12 no. 3, p. 2.

Brawley, S & Dixon, C 2009, “Who Owns the Kokoda Trail? Australia Mythologies, Colonial Legacies and Mining in Papua New Guinea”, Social Alternatives, vol. 28, pp. 53-60.

Daniel, P, Keen M & Mcpherson, C 2010, The Taxation of Petroleum and Minerals: Principles, Problems and Practice, Routledge, London.

Emerson, C & Lloyd, P 1981, Improving Mineral Taxation Policy in Australia, Australian National University, Center for Economic Policy Research, Canberra

Fardin, J 2011, “Power, Culture, Economy: Indigenous Australian and Mining”, Australian Aboriginal Studies, vol. 10, pp. 67-72.

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Herring, I 2010, “Mineral Reserves”, Issues in Science and Technology, vol. 27, p. 30.

Huang, X & Austin, I 2011, Chinese Investment in Australia: Unique Insights from the Mining Industry, Palgrave Macmillan, New York.

Johnston, JS 2005, “The Rule of Capture and the Economic Dynamic of Natural Resource Use and Survival under Open Access Management Regimes”, Environmental Law, vol. 35, p. 89.

Lamb, M 2002, “Defining “Profits” For British Income Tax Purposes: A Contextual Study of the Deprecation Cases, 1875-1897”, The Accounting Historians Journal, vol. 29, p. 56.

Luong, P J & Weinthal, E 2010, Oil is not a Curse: Ownership Structure and Institutions in Soviet Successor States, Cambridge University Press, New York (NY).

Montrie C 2003, “Grasping at Independence: Debt, Male Authority and Mineral Right in Appalachian Kentucky, 1850-1915”, Journal of Southern History, vol. 69, pp. 45-46.

Otto, J 1995, The Taxation of Mineral Enterprises, Graham & Trotman, Boston.

Otto, J et al. 2006, Mining Royalties: A Global Study of Their Impacts on Investors, Government and Civil Society, World Bank Publication, Washington DC.

Suter, K 2009, “The Australian Economy: The Continuing ‘Wonder Down Under”, Contemporary Review, vol. 291, pp. 3-6.

Walter, S 2011, St. James’s Place Wealth Management Tax Guide: 2011-2012. Palgrave Macmillan, Basingstoke.

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