Monday, 8 February 2016

Managed Investment Trusts – the industry perspective, a legal standpoint.

Managed Investment Trusts (MITs) are the investment vehicle of choice, supporting Australia’s $2.59 trillion funds management industry [1].

The proposed new tax regime for MITs, introduced into Parliament on 3 December 2015, is the third and most complex tranche of reforms affecting the taxation of MITs.

What follows is a short introduction to the paper Kos Dimitriou, CTA, and Vivian Chang, CTA are due to present at the Financial Services Conference being held on 17-19 February 2016.

The significance of these new measures should not be underestimated. The proposed law is complex and will fundamentally change the way qualifying Managed Investment Trusts (AMITs) and their investors are taxed. Favourable changes are also made to the Division 6C public trading trust (PTT) rules as well as repealing the Division 6B public unit trust (PUT) rules.

Specifically, the AMIT regime is intending to significantly simplify the administration of MITs, whilst at the same time providing certainty and creating additional functionality for MITs, thereby enabling the creation of new product opportunities, the minimisation of current operational risks and costs.

The introduction of the AMIT regime is welcomed by the industry and another small yet significant step in the Government’s commitment to secure Australia’s future as a leading financial services centre that will promote the greater export of Australia’s funds management expertise and enhance the competitiveness of Australia's funds management industry. As articulated in the Johnson report, such an aspirational status must be progressively achieved, as capital is increasingly becoming mobile, resulting in increased competition for foreign capital.

The development of this regime has been a success due to the close consultation and high level commitment between Treasury, ATO and industry through various changes in Government.

However, it should be noted that because the proposed law has been developed using the principles based approach to drafting, it will require on-going commitment and review by Treasury, the ATO and industry to ensure that we collectively:
  • avoid the repeat of the Division 6 uncertainty;
  • efficiently implement the regime;
  • work with ASIC to develop broad class order relief, in instances where changes to constitutions are required, to ensure we do not allow mere compliance, but rather the development of new products and simplification of the industry; and
  • ensure that the AMIT remains a stable regime, thereby ensuring the industry’s on-going growth, particularly in attracting foreign capital. 
In their presentation, Kos Dimitriou, CTA, and Vivian Chang, CTA will seek to:
  • Provide the background and context of the proposed AMIT regime; 
  • Articulate the key features of the proposed AMIT regime;
  • Outline practical implications that should be considered as fund managers, custodians, fund administrators and other service providers formulate an action plan to implement the AMIT regime; and
  • Explore product opportunities that may arise out of this new tax regime as Australia transitions into a services based economy, and seeks to gain the aspirational status as the financial services hub of the Asia Pacific region.
Kos Dimitriou, CTA, is a tax business partner at NAB, where he focuses on mergers and acquisitions, international tax and funds management. Kos has extensively advised NAB’s Asset Management business units, including Investment Committees, Trustee Boards and a range of industry bodies, on a range of investments, including property, infrastructure, global private equity and global fund of hedge funds.

Vivian Chang, CTA, is a tax partner at Ashurst (formerly known as Blake Dawson), where she focuses on the Australian and international tax aspects of corporate and financial services transactions, specialising in the areas of mergers, acquisition and reorganisations, financial products and funds management.

To to get up to speed with the new proposed regime, and many other leading topics, join us at the Financial Services Conference, 17-19 February 2016 at the Marriott Resort & Spa, 
Surfers Paradise.

[1] ABS 5655 – Managed Funds, Australia, September 2015, Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 26/11/2015

Tax transparency in Australia with Grant Wardell-Johnson

Grant Wardell-Johnson, CTA, is excited to be presenting at what he labels as ‘one of the most well-known and best attended tax conferences in Australia', the Financial Services Conference.

Grant is currently a Partner in the Australian Tax Centre at KPMG, which deals with new legislation, consultation, and thought leadership on tax policy. He has been in this position for nearly 3 years and thoroughly enjoy it. Prior to this he was a client service partner in a number of industries and particularly mergers and acquisitions.

Presenting on tax transparency in Australia in two parts, Grant will first be presenting on the conceptual and historical aspects to provoke views on transparency. The second part will deal with the main developments. As many developments domestically are flowing from what is happening internationally, he will also be working with Claudio Cimetta and Mark Konza who will follow this technical session to discuss the international scene.

Attendees of this session will gain an overview of transparency developments, but hopefully reflect on where taxation is heading on disclosures and what it may mean for their organisations or their position as advisers.

If you don’t want to miss out on this and many other great technical sessions, check out the brochure for the Financial Services Conference being held on 17-19 February 2016 in Surfers Paradise Marriott Resort & Spa.

Wednesday, 3 February 2016

'Be Consumed' at the Barossa Convention

As Australia evolves into a “smarter” economy, governments are looking to incentivise start-up ventures to support innovation. Taking advantage of available government incentives and having the right tax structures in place is critical to uncorking success for you and your clients within the SME space. The 2016 Barossa Convention is all about getting down and (tax) dirty on start-up ventures and private businesses, trusts and superannuation. Join us in the Barossa this May to learn more…

For almost 50 years, the Convention has been South Australia’s premier event for tax professionals. Drawing on the event’s rich history and tradition along with its unique location, from 2016 it will be known as the Barossa Convention. This year, in addition to a new name, we are excited to extend the invitation to our interstate members and are proud to showcase an impressive line-up of speakers against the idyllic backdrop of South Australia’s wine country to discuss start-ups, trusts, superannuation and everything in between.

Be consumed: food and wine and tax, oh my

From the surrounds of the Novotel Barossa Valley Resort and spectacular local cuisine through to the “Barossa – Be Consumed” gala dinner, on-site local produce market and world class golf course, this year’s event is
unashamedly Barossa-themed. Delegates are invited to arrange a round of golf or take a breathtaking “Tour de Tax” bike ride from Adelaide’s CBD to the convention venue. The journey ties in fittingly with the “Concept to Start-Up” journey that keynote speakers will take you on as you explore case studies and practical tax issues.

Get down and (tax) dirty on the uprise of start-ups

Start-ups, SMEs, private enterprises. These are here to stay.

The Turnbull government’s agenda to transform Australia into an agile and innovative ecosystem of nimble businesses is designed to help fuel investment and boost the economy into the future. Australia will only continue to see an upsurge in start-up ventures, new tax laws, tax considerations and traps. Does it scare you? Are you across the multifaceted issues that your clients will come knocking on your door for? What do they mean for your clients? 

Tim Sandow, CTA and other keynote speakers will unpack the tax and legal issues surrounding your clients’ evolving businesses on day two of the convention. The sessions are technical, practical and take you on a journey from concept to start-up to the initial phases of global expansion. Along the way, questions on your mind will be addressed. Here are but a few… 
  • How are start-ups structured in Australia and overseas? What are the implications and risks?
  • What are the available tax concessions?
  • How do you structure for tax incentives such as the R&D incentive and grants?
  • What are the IP issues – what is available, is your client investor-ready, how do you protect IP overseas and mitigate IP infringement?
  • How can I utilise the employee share scheme rules after recent changes – where can you find the advantages? 

A lot to consume on both days, but better to be fed with knowledge than left hungry!

In Trust we tax. Or was it in tax we….

Confusing? While the process of liquidating or deregistering a company is clear, the termination of a trust is much less certain and relies on an understanding of trust law and trust deeds. Day two of the convention will also consider these practical tax and stamp duty issues arising on the vesting of trust estates.

Michael Butler, CTA will address key issues that members who work in the complex area of trust law face: 
  • What is the process involved in voluntarily vesting a trust deed?
  • How do you deal with a position when the trust is about to vest, including the recent Rinehart dispute?
  • Can the vesting date be extended (possibly forever)?
  • What if the vesting date has already passed? Is it too late to take remedial action?  

Super Saturday!

The weekend of the Barossa Convention kicks on after our “Barossa – Be Consumed” gala dinner! Strong coffee in hand and not just for superannuation experts, delegates can choose to attend the Super Saturday morning sessions where Harry Patsias, CTA and Suzanne Mackenzie, CTA walk you through a tour of modern superannuation and how this will affect your clients.

With the government’s focus on tighter governance for superannuation in the coming year, these sessions will take a peek at emerging ideas, ranging from underutilised ideas to new and novel (and questionable!) ideas.

Whether a South Australian local or someone based interstate, we invite you to come along to this premier tax event in the beautiful Barossa. Be consumed, be connected, be armed with knowledge! See you there.

2016 Barossa Convention 5 – 7 May | Novotel Barossa Valley Resort, South Australia

If you’d like to attend the 2016 Barossa Convention in May, go here.

Video used with permission, SA Tourism.

Monday, 1 February 2016

2016 Property & Construction Tax Intensive

Always a 'must-attend' for practitioners advising the property and construction industry, the expansion of this year's Property & Construction Tax Intensive to one and a half days reflects the dynamism and continued importance of this sector.

Peter Glindemann, Senior Manager in EY's Private Client Services team, will co-chair the Intensive and here he tells us a little more about what to expect from the event in April.

Focussing on topical tax and commercial insights from leading figures in the tax profession, the Intensive is designed for experienced practitioners who work in - or have clients in - the property and construction industry.

The event offers a mixture of in-depth, technical, direct and indirect tax topics, together with updates from the regulators (i.e. the ATO and Qld Office of State Revenue) and industry insights, including economic trend analysis and "war stories" from an industry veteran.

We're pleased to count practitioners including Tim Lawless, Bob Sharpless, Ken Morrison and David Marks QC among many other the well-known speakers.  In his Keynote Address, Tim will provide an update on market activity and trends for the Queensland and Australian market generally, as well as touch on the broader macroeconomic issues that are affecting the property sector.

In the "Learning from the Legends" session we'll be welcoming Bob Sharpless, Deputy Chairman of Springfield Land Corporation, and developer of Australia's largest privately owned master planned community. Bob will share some of his insights, strategies and lessons learned around delivering a development project.

David Marks QC, CTA, features on a panel looking at recent developments in capital v revenue disputes. The session will canvas how recent cases provide guidance to the tax implications of different types of property development activity.

Aside from these and many other high profile speakers, the organising team feel the real strength of the Intensive lies in the diverse range of experience in tax and commercial issues impacting the industry that the event brings together.

What makes this event different to others is the unique opportunity, in a single event, to learn from not only tax advisers recognised for their depth of experience in the property and construction industry, but to also gain commercial insights from a leading market analyst, an industry veteran, and to hear direct from the regulators and industry bodies.

The broad range of tax (both direct and indirect) and commercial insights from speakers in professional practice, industry and regulators makes this an event that will be valuable to an equally broad range of delegates.

2016's Property & Construction Tax Intensive takes place on 12–13 April at the Brisbane Marriott Hotel. Find out more about the event here

Friday, 29 January 2016

The new Managed Investment Trust regime with Vivian Chang amd Kos Dimitriou

Two of 27 presenters at The Tax Institute’s upcoming Financial Services Conference, Vivian Chang, CTA, and Kos Dimitriou, CTA, will be speaking on the new Managed Investment Trust (MIT) regime. 

We spoke to Vivian about her experience and her upcoming presentation. A tax partner at Ashurst (formerly known as Blake Dawson), Vivian focuses on the Australian and international tax aspects of corporate and financial services transactions, specialising in the areas of mergers, acquisition and reorganisations, financial products and funds management.
Vivian sees the Financial Services Conference as a ‘fantastic event that draws good attendance from the industry and covers topical and relevant issues for a specialised industry’.
Looking at the topic from a legal perspective, Vivian is co-presenting this plenary session with Kos Dimitriou, CTA, of NAB, who will look at things from an industry standpoint. Together they will canvass MIT evolution, key features of the new regime, practical implications and possible product opportunities. Their session will leave delegates with a working understanding of the new attribution MIT regime and how it may affect the development of the funds management industry going forward.
Vivian and Kos’s presentation will cover:
  • a summary of the proposed attribution MIT regime in the draft legislation
  • how the ATO plans to approach the application of the attribution MIT regime
  • some of the potential issues that might arise from the new regime.
Vivian tells us she predicts a busy year ahead for practitioners in this space in assessing and deciding on whether or not to enter into the attribution MIT regime and implementing any changes.

If you need some help to get up to speed quickly on the new proposed regime and many other leading topics, join us at the Financial Services Conference being held on 17-19 February 2016 in Surfers Paradise Marriott Resort & Spa.