Sunday, 19 April 2015

Conversation on tax reform

Yesterday, Perth-based members of The Tax Institute met with Robert Jeremenko, Chief of Staff of the Federal Government's Tax White Paper Unit and Sasha Grebe, Senior Adviser, Tax White Paper Unit to join in the national conversation on tax reform. Members had the opportunity to raise issues and provide their thoughts on matters that have been posited in the Tax Discussion Paper directly with the Tax White Paper Unit.

There are many other ways members can get involved in this conversation and we encourage members to use all channels available to have a say. In particular, we encourage members to contact us via Tax Policy if you want to get involved in the tax reform discussion.

There are plenty of other issues floating around that the Tax Policy team are or have been working on, ranging from the re-write of the taxation of the managed investment trust rules, through to the administration of the tax secrecy and transparency provisions and the South Australian State Tax Review. We encourage members to refer to the Submissions page on our website to see what we've been working on recently.


Stephanie Caredes CTA is a Tax Counsel of The Tax Institute.

The Tax Institute is Australia’s leading professional association in tax. Its 13,000 members include tax agents, accountants and lawyers as well as tax practitioners in corporations, government and academia.

Monday, 13 April 2015

Our submission to the Senate Corporate Tax Avoidance inquiry

In life there are usually two numbers we keep to ourselves: our PIN and our TFN. The reasons for keeping the former private are straightforward, the reasons for keeping the latter private are more complex.

Australian law generally treats taxpayer information as sacrosanct; a well-guarded secret between you and your Commissioner. Why is that so? The question was a popular one this week as a result of the Senate inquiry into Corporate Tax Avoidance.

Senator Sam Dastyari, Chair of the Senate Economics References Committee, urged the Commissioner to release confidential taxpayer information as part of the Senate inquiry, which the Commissioner refused to do. Treasurer Joe Hockey subsequently issued a media release in support of the Commissioner's decision, citing "maintaining integrity in our tax system" and "the risk of reducing compliance with the system" as reasons for maintaining taxpayer confidentiality.

Coincidentally, this week also marks the closing date for submissions to the ATO's consultation on tax secrecy and transparency. Later this year, the ATO will be publishing certain tax information for the 2013-14 income year in relation to companies with total income of $100m or more (approximately 2,300 entities). The paper asks a series of questions about how the ATO should undertake the reporting of this information. The ATO is compelled to disclose this information by amendments to the Taxation Administration Act 1953 enacted on 29 June 2013.

There are difficult questions in life and whether our tax affairs should be confidential is but one.

The Tax Institute's submission to the Senate Corporate Tax Avoidance inquiry can be found here.

Our submission to the ATO consultation on tax secrecy and transparency should be available on our website shortly. 


Thilini Wickramasuriya FTI is a Tax Counsel of The Tax Institute.

The Tax Institute is Australia’s leading professional association in tax. Its 13,000 members include tax agents, accountants and lawyers as well as tax practitioners in corporations, government and academia.

Wednesday, 1 April 2015

The operation of the Div 7A rules – download four free case studies

Download a copy of four free case studies [PDF 0.6 MB] taken from the Division 7A Handbook, 7th edition that illustrate several aspects of the operation of the Div 7A rules and possible implications.

The four case studies from the handbook cover:

  • loan and payment by company
  • payment to trust
  • unpaid present entitlement, and
  • use of company assets.

In addition, the handbook also covers the following case studies:

  • distributable surplus
  • unpaid present entitlement, and
  • unpaid present entitlement created after end of income year.

Download the case studies [PDF 0.6 MB], and purchase your copy of the Division 7A Handbook, 7th editon from our website today.


John Gaal of TaxCounsel is the author of our Division 7A Handbook, 7th edition.

The Tax Institute is Australia’s leading educator and professional association in tax. Its 13,000 members include tax agents, accountants and lawyers as well as tax practitioners in corporations, government and academia.

Friday, 27 March 2015

Tax Reform White Paper to be released on Monday

In the summer of 1979, The Boomtown Rats famously sang “I don’t like Mondays”.
Monday is not usually our favourite day of the week either, but next Monday will be no ordinary day. It could be the genesis of significant changes in our tax system. We welcome the announcement of Monday, 30 March as the date for the release of the Federal Tax Reform White Paper discussion paper.

The Federal Treasurer, Joe Hockey, announced the release date at The Tax Institute’s 30th National Convention on the Gold Coast last week. The Tax Institute is primed and ready to be a sound voice in this pivotal debate on reforming Australia’s tax system.

The time for tinkering around the edges of our tax system has now passed. We hope that the discussion paper provides a basis for a holistic debate. It is time to step back and ask the difficult questions: Is our tax system simple, equitable and efficient? How do we balance these goals? What changes are necessary to strike the right balance?

One thing is clear, we need your assistance and insight in this process. Once you have had a chance to read the discussion paper, please share your ideas with us at Tax Policy.

Tax Disputes

Yesterday, Mr Bert van Manen, Chair of the House of Representatives Standing Committee on Tax and Revenue, tabled the Committee’s must-anticipated report on tax disputes.

The Tax Institute submission and evidence in relation to this inquiry is referred to extensively throughout the report. Consistent with our submission, the Committee’s recommendations included the appointment of a separate second commissioner to deal with tax disputes, considering further direct and early engagement for disputes with all taxpayers, and considering more flexible timeframes to respond to ATO information requests.

We now await the Government’s response to the recommendations of the Committee.

The Committee’s report and our submission in relation this inquiry can be found here.


Thilini Wickramasuriya FTI is a Tax Counsel of The Tax Institute.

The Tax Institute is Australia’s leading professional association in tax. Its 13,000 members include tax agents, accountants and lawyers as well as tax practitioners in corporations, government and academia.

Wednesday, 25 March 2015

Secure the future of your business with the Graduate Diploma of Applied Tax Law

We have received a great response regarding the first intake for our Graduate Diploma of Applied Tax Law program, which builds on our highly regarded CTA1 Foundations, CTA2A Advanced and CTA2B Advanced subjects. You and your staff can enrol now in these practical and relevant courses for study period 2.

Don’t forget, you can continue to strengthen your employees’ tax skills through practical and applied education through our existing Course in Australian Taxation Law, Course in Commercial Law, or Chartered Tax Adviser programs.

The Institute’s education programs ensure that professionals are able to immediately apply their learning in the workplace.

Visit taxinstitute.com.au/GradDip or call us on 02 8223 0038 for more information.

Discover our growing range of apps

Hopefully by now you’ve downloaded The Tax Institute app and are enjoying this issue of Taxation in Australia on your iPad or Android tablet. In February, we launched The Tax Institute CPD app, helping you to get the most from hundreds of events that we run each year, and we’ve just launched The Tax Specialist app, bringing you each issue of the leading journal for corporate tax professionals on your tablet. Visit our website to find out more.

Noel Rowland
Noel Rowland is Chief Executive Officer of The Tax Institute.

The Tax Institute is Australia’s leading professional association in tax. Its 13,000 members include tax agents, accountants and lawyers as well as tax practitioners in corporations, government and academia.