Wayne Mayo - developer of the Kyscope and MyProject models and author of Taxing Investment Income and Taxing Resource Rent

Wayne Mayo (BSc, BEc) has authored a number of journal articles on business income and resource rent taxation (culminating in his 2011 book Taxing Investment Income and his 2013 book Taxing Resource Rent). He has had hands-on experience dealing with resource rent and income taxation issues in the Australian Treasury - during his 20 years there from 1980, including during periods of tax reform in the 1980s (managing the Business Tax Policy Branch) and 1990s (coordinating policy development prior to, and during, the Ralph Business Tax Review), and more recently during 2010 after the Australian government announced its intention to impose the Resource Super Profits Tax and again during 2015/16 working in the Tax Reform Task Force. His Kyscope and MyProject cash flow models enable users to analyse the wide range of tax design issues, and reproduce all the numbers, in Taxing Investment Income and Taxing Resource Rent, respectively.


In developing the Kyscope and MyProject computer packages, Wayne Mayo was able to draw on more than thirty years of interest, expertise and experience in the computing and business taxation fields.

Wayne began using computers in Canberra, Australia in the 1970s in geological research at the Bureau of Mineral Resources (BMR). Graduated from the Australian National University with degrees in both Science and Economics, part of his studies had included a major in the then relatively new discipline of Computer Science. At that time, the only computers available in the workplace were vast mainframes and FORTRAN was the favoured scientific 'number cruncher'.

Some years later, while working at the Industries Assistance Commission (now Productivity Commission), Wayne's interest in business taxation was aroused. This was while he was in an economics research division dealing with enquiries relating to mining and petroleum taxation (using the same mainframe computer as at the BMR). Wayne got hands-on experience with resource rent taxation when advising on tax design with accompanying cash flow modelling experience during the Commission’s 1976 crude oil pricing inquiry which conjectured on resource rent taxation accompanying recommended world parity pricing. Subsequently, by a stroke of good luck, taxation studies found their way into the Economics Honours course he undertook at the Australian National University in 1979 as a Master's Qualifying year.

In 1980 he joined the Australian Treasury where fresh opportunities for indulging his interest in business taxation presented themselves. He was initially appointed to the Taxation Policy Branch where, amongst other things, he was able to bring his earlier experience with petroleum taxation to bear in policy advice in the lead up to the introduction in 1984 of resource rent taxation of Australian offshore petroleum projects. Later, as Acting Assistant Secretary Business Taxation Policy Branch he was able to immerse himself in the 1985/86 business income tax reform process (still using FORTRAN programming occasionally, mainly for analysis of individual assets and liabilities). The reforms generated during this process removed some major 'holes' in the income tax base - for example, with the introduction of general capital gains taxation - and removed the double taxation of dividends by the introduction of a full imputation system of company taxation.

Some ten years later, prior to and during the 1998/99 Ralph Review of Business Taxation, Wayne was again able to grapple with business income tax issues. Prior to the Review, he headed up the Treasury team considering business tax policy issues. He advised the Australian Government on options for business income tax reform as a prelude to the publication of the Government's August 1998 paper, A New Tax System (business income taxation is in Chapter 3). During the Ralph Review, Wayne had responsibility for coordinating policy considerations and draft legislation (with computer analyses in Microsoft Excel spreadsheets taking over from FORTRAN, but still restricted to isolated transactions). During this reform period, the focus was less on filling 'holes' in the law than it had been in the 1985/86 reform process and more on consistency of treatment across the law - which gave motivation for modelling a complete business income tax system that integrated, in a global context, assets and liabilities, entities owning them and the entity's owners.

When Wayne left the Australian Treasury in 2000, his continuing interest in business income taxation found expression in his developing just such a comprehensive computer model of business income taxation - which he shaped over time into the Kyscope.

Wayne designed the Kyscope tool to allow practical expression of sound taxation principles and, at the same time, to assist in a practical way in the formulation of income tax policy, the drafting of associated law and the appreciation of revenue and administrative/compliance implications.

Subsequent to the development of the Kyscope, Wayne developed MyProject, partly as a complement to the Kyscope and partly to appeal to a wider audience of project developers, investors, accountants, as well as business income taxation specialists. Written in Microsoft® Visual Basic.Net®, MyProject offers an easy-to-use format for analysis of actual or hypothetical data with flexibility over the number of years of analysis, number of capital investments per year and number of products from each project.

The updated computing 'know how' associated with Microsoft® Visual Basic.Net® and the development of MyProject sets the scene for further development of the Kyscope - leaving its 'back-end' Microsoft® Excel-based but with a Microsoft® Visual Basic.Net® 'front-end' allowing simpler and more flexible flexible use in a Microsoft® Windows environment.

During 2010, Wayne again undertook work within the Australian Treasury, including cash flow modelling, associated with the Australian government's proposals to extend the scope of resource rent taxation of Australia's mining and petroleum resources.

In 2011, Wayne drew together traditional economic theory of income taxation and much prior analysis of investment income taxation using the Kyscope into a single volume, Taxing Investment Income: without affecting worldwide investment decisions. Similarly, in 2013, Wayne drew together his prior publications and experience in the field of resource rent taxation - backed up by his MyProject model - to publish his latest book, Taxing Resource Rent: concepts, misconceptions and practical design.

Over 12 months to May 2016, Wayne again worked in Treasury in the Tax Reform Task Force formed to advise the government on tax reform options.

Wayne Mayo's publications include:

'Policy Forum: Resource Rent Taxation - Experiences from Australia', Canadian Tax Journal, Vol 63, No 2, pp469-486, 2015.

Taxing Resource Rent: concepts, misconceptions and practical design, Kyscope, Canberra, 2013.

Taxing Investment Income: without affecting worldwide investment decisions, Kyscope, Canberra, 2011.

'Some Business Tax Reform Issues' in Australian Tax Reform in Retrospect and Prospect, John G. Head (editor), Australian Tax Research Foundation, 1989.

'Pricing for Capacity Utilisation with Public Enterprises', The Australian Economic Review, No 87, Spring, pp16-24, 1989.

'Interest, Exempt Income and Inter-corporate Dividends', Australian Tax Forum, Vol 4, No 1, pp123-142, 1987.

'(Tax) Depreciation and Inflation: Some Practical Observations', Economic Papers, Vol 3, No 4, December, pp30-47, 1984.

'Rent Royalties', The Economic Record, Vol 55, September, pp202-213, 1979.

'A Numerical Approach to the Geochemistry of the Estuarine Sediments' in Geochemistry of a Tropical Estuary and its Catchment - Broad Sound , Queensland, P.J. Cook & W. Mayo, BMR Bulletin 182, AGPS, 1980.

'Numerical Techniques Applied to the Geochemistry of Some Estuarine Sediments from Broad Queensland', BMR Journal of Australia Geology & Geophysics, Vol 1, No 3, pp193-203, 1976.