Dr Kathryn James teaches and researches in taxation law and policy with specific expertise in the value added tax (VAT) or goods and services tax (GST). Her research focuses on how ostensibly technical questions of taxation impact upon distributive justice.
Kathryn is an ARC Discovery Early Career Research fellow from December 2019 to December 2024 for a project that examines whether Australia Can and Should Reform the GST (DE190100346). The project builds upon her research to date that has focused on explaining the rapid rise of the VAT/GST. Her book, The Rise of the Value-Added Tax (Cambridge University Press, 2015), provided the first comprehensive and critical account of the rise of the VAT and was informed by various disciplinary perspectives including law, politics, history and economics.
In 2021, Kathryn organised the Critical Tax Symposium which featured new and critical perspectives on tax design and reform. Topics included the role of taxation in addressing: economic inequality; gender inequality; environmental issues; and the intersectional disadvantage experienced by marginalised groups such as First Nations peoples, migrant and refugee communities, people with a disability and LGBTIQ+ groups. Kathryn is guest editing a forthcoming issue of the Australian Tax Review featuring a selection of papers from the symposium. Kathryn is currently undertaking further work to develop critical analytical capacity within academic and policy discussions of taxation. She welcomes interest from within and beyond academia to contribute to this agenda.
Kathryn had published widely in a range of domestic and international journals (Monash Law Review, UNSW Law Journal, Theoretical Inquiries in Law, British Tax Review) and contributed to a range of publications on tax law and distributive justice (Oxford University Press, Hart).