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Recently there has been discussion in both the Australian and international media, and debate in the European Parliament, concerning the proposal to tax smart autonomous robots (‘robots’) that are said to be replacing human employees in many industries.

The co-founder of Microsoft, Bill Gates, has expressed his views in an interview with

Using several sources, identify and explain the arguments for and against the proposalto tax robots. Which arguments do you find most persuasive: The arguments for, or the arguments and against, and why?

Your response should include, but not be limited to, discussion of:

  • the meaning and purpose of taxation
  • what is meant by ‘smart autonomous robot’
  • possible impacts on the Australian tax base if there is an increased reliance on a smart autonomous robotic workforce and how to address these impacts
  • how a smart autonomous robotic workforce could be taxed –who would pay?

Beta Pty Ltd – itself a large business – purchased a robotic machine from its parent company Alpha Pty Ltd for $500,000 on 1 January 2017. The market value on that date was $300,000. Alpha Pty Ltd owned the machine for 3 years and used the prime cost method when calculating its depreciation deductions. The robotic machine has an effective life of 8 years.

What is the decline in value of the robotic machine for Beta Pty Ltd this income year? Provide calculation and reasons for your answer

The Meaning and Purpose of Taxation

Taxation by the term which imposition of certain charges and amount on an individual for income he earns in a particular year based on the various kinds of operations he indulges in to do such kind of business.  It is done by the government to raise revenue for the various kind of government expenditure that is the most proficient way by which the government can raise money from the citizen for the various activities that the government needs to undertake.  The government to encourage or discourage certain economic transactions also does it. Te rate of taxation is increased to decreased based on the kind of work done by the government for the upliftment of the citizen and the kind of work it wants to do to support the citizens in the future. (Friedman, M., 2007)

Taxation is used for variety of purpose by the government, to raise money for its activities, to discourage people to do certain work, like high rate of taxes are imposed on liquor or cigar so people are discouraged to buy and use this products, and even manufacture of these products is highly taxed to discourage people.  On a broader scale if we see then the major purpose of taxation as stated by the legends is too provide a more progressive society where there is a balance between the high class and the low class, because they have to pay the required amount of tax as stated.  Various advocated of public puts their point that taxes may be important in situations where the private position of public goods may be at a low level, such as in case of a light house or a national defence, in those cases,  government makes them tax free hence there is balance achieved in the total level of income. (Cates, J.D., 2017)

An autonomous robot is a robot that performs various numbers of tasks and behaviour that is very automatic particularly in specific fields like spaceflight, maintenance of the household, treatment of wastewater and delivering of various goods and services.  In today’s times, modern factory robots are all autonomous and they do all work automatically based on codes and digits. They work in their direct environment, and for the factory robots, their workplace is challenging and is often filled with chaotic and disbursed variables.  It must be determined beforehand, the flow of work and the next object of work that is to be done, there cannot be any changes in the same; else the robots will not be able to work accordingly.  A robot can do a lot of work that a human can do but with much more efficiency and much more speed. It is very important that people let the robots to cope with their outside environment on which it has to work whether it be land, air, water etc.  An automated robot can perform a variety of functions like the – (, 2017)

  • It can gain information about the environment in which it has to perform on its own.
  • It can work smoothly for long hours without any intervention from the humans
  • It can effectively move its part between the operating environment , without any support from the human in any way
  • It can successfully avoid all the circumstances that can be harmful for the people and also the property and the design of his environment
  • It can also gain knowledge and other information and learn new techniques on its own, based on the activities that happen around him
  • An autonomous robot is very helpful to do long tedious work that requires a lot of human intervention and helps in saving a lot of human cost.
  • These robots are smart enough to do their work without requiring any kind of support from the humans, hence are known as smart humans. (, 2017) 

As per the reports it has been stated that since large scale computerisation is taking place an there has been aide growth in case of nonhuman workforce, that is robot, that are employed in large number of factories to perform the work that was previously done by humans, to save allot of time and energy, it has scampered the overall development and growth in the job sector because of this.  Nearly half do the overall Australian jobs are at a risk because of large-scale computerisation and automation of jobs, that is affecting the society widely.  As per the latest government reports, it was stated that in the coming 20 years, most of the work would be done by the robots, and people will only be required to do casual work. It was also stated that as per the Ministry of Employment more than 44 present of the Australian jobs were under threat because of the use of smart robots.  It is important that with advancement in technology people are ready to accept the changes that are taking place, there is two options for the present generation either then can refuse to join this wave of innovation and sink in the ocean, or they can catch the wind and can swim across embracing  what the new technology has to offer.  As per the CSIRO and the Australian Computer Society, almost all the industries are going to be affected by this wave of automation.  It is important that the current work force work on their skills and their upliftment, so that they are not unemployed in the future and people are ready to hire them over their automated version, which by default will be more upscale and more developed.  As per reports in the coming future there will be more demand for people with acknowledge base in science, mathematics, technology and engineering, these will be the people that will be having the utmost demand, so people should try to gain knowledge in these fields. It is possible that more and more people can be unemployed in the coming years, because of this automation and hence it is a very stand to take whether to flow in the sea of technology or to drown in the same. It is difficult on part of the government because on one hand, it is about development and on the oath hand it is about people losing their jobs and livelihood. (Gary, J., Hoffman, G., Adalgeirsson, S.O., Berlin, M. and Breazeal, C., 2010)

Smart Autonomous Robot

Now it is a very debatable topic, whether these automated robots should be taxed or not. It entirely depends on the policies of the government; a and various factors are needed to be kept in mind, before taking such a decision. As per Bill Gates, these robots must be taxed and all the revenue that was generated must be sued for the health care of the people and the worker. It must be invested in those areas that still require human support and intervention.  As per him, today a human worker is working and is paying the government income tax , social security tax with which the government is raising the required amount of revenue that it might need for the growth and support of the people. In the same way when robots work in place of humans, then they must also be taxed to pay the required amount of taxes, and it must be used for the development of the people and the society widely. It is correct point, because just the form is being replaced, same amount of work is being done, so why should the government let go his share of revenue for the same. It is important that the government take steps in taxing such robots so that the flow of revenue for the government is not hindered (Business Insider, 2017)

They found the  artificial intelligence system to be more nicer because

  • They are not endangered to any feelings
  • They are vastly established decision maintenance system and supports in publicizing developed another professional interrelated difficulties.
  • Experts structures assist trainees in sophisticated the way qualified professionals do (Shiller, 2017)

The Expert system preserves all the knowledge that the humans dot do. Retirement, Death are the major reasons

If the same work that the robot is now doing, he is doing it in replacement of the humans, a and the same humans with the level of his capabilities and other factors, will be doing some other work, so in this way, we cannot just stop the flow of income for the government, that it might need to support the people and the humans of the country. With large number of increase in jobs, it is important that the government takes this thing seriously and taxation should be done on the robots as they were done on the humans, the robots are also using some resources that keep them working, a and that resources are being generated from some expenses, so in a way the robots are also played just as the humans are paid, and hence they must be taxed in the same way. If I was to be asked, I would have paid taxed for the robots that I employ in my factory, just in case of the humans that I employ, there is not much difference between the two ,a and the money is needed by the government to support itself and the government equally. If the government will not earn, it will not be able to carry on various public expenditures that are needed to keep the public working, in such a situation it would be foolishness if we do not pay the taxes and expect the government to do their work. The most important thing is that money must flow and it will keep flowing in any which way, if it comes s, it must go, to change in some other form and come again. (Titcomb, 2017)

Possible impacts on the Australian tax base if there is an increased reliance on a smart autonomous robotic workforce and how to address these impacts


If we look from broader perspective, the entire concept-t of taxation of humans and thus of  robots is not matter of debate because both are doing the same work and are generating the same output, if there is no flow of taxes, how will government fund the other necessary expenditure.  The businesses are making investment in their capital and other expenditures to increase their productivity, so in situations where they are investing in these robots their overall productivity is being increased so it is important that people are ready to pay the taxes also for the same. We can also say that if we see what can be place against the topic, is the point that if robots are taxed then more and more people will be hesitant to apply the new form of technology and to employ such robots, because it takes allot of money to get these robots functioned to do the requisite job and if even they are taxed then why will people be convinced to invest in the same, that is one of the most important reason that can be placed against this discussion of taxing robots, for their own work. (Ellis, 2017)  With the advent in technology, the automation of jobs is being taken place from such a long time and it cannot be stopped anytime soon. In such a situation, it is important that as soon as possible, the government is ready to take necessary steps in this direction and form laws and norms for taxing of these super smart robots. It will be a progressive decision and will allow technological development in the end. If today the entire concept seem blur, in the coming years people will realise it’s important and will be ready to employ the same. That is the basic idea that was very well presented by Bill gates in his report where he clearly mentioned why robots must be taxed just like humans. In addition, why it is important to let the technology develop and not curb its wings. As per economlogista and the technologists, automation is the key of the hour and more and more jobs are getting replaced every day, if we follow this policy of taxing ach and anyone that perform world not only for the government but for the people it will be helpful. It will be helpful in establishing genuine norm of taxation of all basic stipend pay employees. (Financial Times, 2017)

Beta Pty Lilted is a large occupational  corporate business who has developed a robotic mechanism engine which is truly functioned and performed  by beings or individuals from its own company. Alpha Pty Ltd on January 1st, 2017 for $500,000 Fatherly,  the marketplace worth of that was overriding $300000. Fatherly, we can say that mechanism  was controlled by Alpha for 3 years and the process of devaluation used was prime cost of technique or the straight line of depreciation. The life span is 8 years.

Depreciable assets are moneymaking assets which will be depreciated over a period of time Depreciable assets are work-related assists which will be diminished. That is, the value of the benefit is unrushed as a marketable expenditure over the  life. The Indian Revenue Service uses the term "depreciable stuff," which is basically as compared to assists that are depreciable, so an discrete person  uses the term depreciable properties in this conversation.

How a smart autonomous robotic workforce could be taxed –who would pay?

We can disparage or devaluate  constructions ,equipment’s and fittings, tools etc. Anything that is wearable and disposable.

Intangible property will be denigrated such as copyrights, patents, software connected to computer

For depreciation of property these thing should be satisfied:

  • The possessions should be the persons property
  • There should be an useful life.
  • Any possession  that is anticipated to be there for more than one should be depreciated.
  • The asset should actually be used to generate income.
  • Depreciation should be generated when the asset is put to use rather when it is bought.

Land : Land can never be depreciated. It will always be always be appreciated. It don’t lose its charge. But we can denigrate some land training charges.

Current assets : Current assets can never be depreciated  . Prepaid insurance can never be depreciated .Accounts receivable can never be depreciated.

Cash : Cash can never be depreciated . Its value remains  the similar and also it’s a short term asset  . It can never be depreciated (Business insider, 2017)

Depreciable assets include tools and other palpable possessions. Resources cannot be belittled since they are unhurried to be second-hand within  one year.

Various methods of depreciation are there such as straight line, diminishing method and sum of digits method. The straight line is easy and does not require much calculations. The depreciation will be throughout same in all the years . The Interior Revenue Service (IRS) allows industries to withdraw the cost of some property which is bought for fulfilling the commitments of the business on their income tax returns. From tax view point, it will be beneficial for a commercial to use the decreasing equilibrium method since the business can take the devaluation benefit in the initial years of incorporates as compared to later years. The prime cost technique, also called the straight-line process, commences that the value of an advantage cuts at a unchangeable quantity over time. For instance, if a buyer buys a part of asset for $7,000 which has an valuable life of six years, the worth of the stuff would drip down by $1,000 a year when it comes to this technique. In demising method of depreciation the depreciation  value will be higher in the starting years as compared to later years . Beta Limited learned for  $ 500000 when asset value was $300000 in the market , we can understand that flagging in value is $ 200000. Seeing the year devaluation will be envisioned on $500000 that is $100000 each and every year translation to the old-style line technique of depreciation. So $ 100000 downgrading will be charged , therefore the whole wearying in worth will be  $ 300000 (Hamel, 2017).The tax payer can have the right capital payment progressively on cost of the property  that is devalued (Hamel, 2015)


Titcomb, J. (2017). Robots that take people's jobs should pay taxes, says Bill Gates. [online] The Telegraph. Available at: [Accessed 25 May 2017].

Financial Times. (2017). The misguided logic of a robot income tax. [online] Available at: [Accessed 25 May 2017]. (2017). Autonomous Robots. [online] Available at: [Accessed 25 May 2017].

The social responsibility of business is to increase its profits. In Corporate ethics and corporate governance (pp. 173-178). springer berlin heidelberg.

Expressive, interactive robots: Tools, techniques, and insights based on collaborations. In HRI 2010 Workshop: What do Collaborations with the Arts have to say about HRI (pp. 21-8).

European Perspectives on an Emergent Law of Robotics.

Smith ,S (2017).Bill gates robot tax. [online] Available at: [Accessed  9th April. 2017]

Ellis ,P (2017).Tech and innovation. [online] Available at: [Accessed  9th April. 2017]

Business Insider(2017).Bill gates plan to tax robots. [online] Available at: [Accessed  9th April. 2017]

Ellis ,P (2017).Tech and innovation. [online] Available at: [Accessed  9th April. 2017] 

Shiller ,R(2017).Why robots should be taxed [online] Available at: [Accessed  9th April. 2017]

Luterbatcher, C (2017).Should robots be taxed for stealing jobs. [online] Available at: [Accessed  9th April. 2017]

Karsten, J (2017).Robots intelligence. [online] Available at: [Accessed  9th April. 2017

Varao fakis, Y (2017).Tax on robots. [online] Available at: [Accessed  9th April. 2017]

Hamel, G (2017).Prime cost depreciation method. [online] Available at: [Accessed  9th April. 2017]

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