Monday, 20 October 2014

Employee share schemes and start-ups

This week the Federal Government announced changes to the tax treatment of employee share schemes.  This was part of a wider package called the Industry Innovation and Competitiveness Agenda.

The Government's announcement includes an unravelling of the infamous 2009 tax changes to employee share schemes and this is a welcome move. It will go a long way to addressing the unfair imposition of a significant tax burden on employees. It should also address the significant compliance burden that employers face under the current rules.

However, as members are well aware, the devil is often in the detail, so we look forward to carefully consulting with the Government on draft legislation to ensure that the new rules deliver the intended outcome and serve to improve the tax treatment for both employees and employers. The Tax Institute's submission to Treasury on this matter can be accessed here.

The 2009 tax changes certainly have taken their place in the annals of political history as some of the worst examples of knee-jerk tax policy announcements.  We must ensure this week's announced changes are properly developed and implemented.


Robert Jeremenko CTA is Senior 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, 15 October 2014

New Graduate Diploma Raises the Bar for the Tax Profession

15 October, 2014:  Last night The Tax Institute launched its first postgraduate course, the Graduate Diploma of Applied Tax Law, at an event attended by the tax profession’s leading luminaries, including Commissioner of Taxation, Chris Jordan AO.

According to Noel Rowland, CEO of The Tax Institute, “The Tax Institute is raising the bar for the tax profession.

“The launch of our Graduate Diploma of Applied Tax Law means that we are the only professional association to provide a postgraduate education solely in tax.

“The tax profession will undergo fundamental shifts in both its business model and its workforce, resulting in the need for a changing professional capability in Australia.

“Consumers of tax services are now seeking tax professionals who offer more than tax advice, and who are equipped with the skills to take on the role of business advisor as a whole.

“Tax professionals must be at the centre of business decisions and be able to think and problem solve in a highly nuanced environment to achieve the competitive and comparative advantage sorely needed for Australia’s future.

“The Graduate Diploma of Applied Tax Law has been developed to teach tax professionals these skills, exceed the regulatory demands of today and meet the challenges of the future.

“All of this while maintaining the practical and applied focus to ensure tax professionals are able to apply their learnings immediately in the workplace - the hallmark of the Institute’s education.”

The Tax Institute is the only designator of the internationally recognised ‘Chartered Tax Adviser’ post nominal in Australia.

Contact:

Noel Rowland, Chief Executive Officer, The Tax Institute: 02 8223 0001

Karen Dunnicliff, Sefiani Communications Group: 0435 807 761

The Tax Institute is the country’s leading educator and professional association in tax. Its 15,000 members include tax agents, accountants and lawyers as well as tax practitioners in corporations, government and academia.  The Tax Institute supports the tax profession through education and professional development and works to continually improve tax law and its administration.

Graduate Diploma of Applied Tax Law

Monday, 13 October 2014

The public debate on the taxation of multinationals

Most recently, members may have read some of the series of Fairfax press reports stemming from a publication that claimed almost a third of Australia’s largest companies are paying less than 10¢ in the dollar in corporate tax. Whilst there is ongoing commentary on the details and analysis contained within the report (Who Pays for our Common Wealth?), we can be certain that the focus on our tax system and the way that it interacts with the global tax environment is set to intensify.

Late last week the Leader of the Australian Greens, Senator Christine Milne, successfully moved that the Senate Economics References Committee examine tax avoidance and aggressive minimisation by both Australian corporates and multinationals operating in Australia.  Specifically, the Committee will examine: 

  •   the adequacy of Australia's current laws;
  •   any need for greater transparency to deter tax avoidance and provide assurance that all companies are complying fully with Australia's taxation laws;
  •   the broader economic impacts of this behaviour, beyond the direct effect of government revenue;
  •   the opportunities to collaborate internationally and/or act unilaterally to address the problem;
  •   the performance and capability of the Australian Taxation Office to investigate and launch litigation;
  •   the role and performance of the Australian Securities and Investments Commission in working with corporations and supporting the ATO to protect public revenue;
  •   any relevant recommendations or issues arising from the Government's White Paper process on the 'Reform of Australia's Tax System'; and
  •   any other related matters.

As I noted in a recent TaxVine, it is important to recognise that Base Erosion and Profit Shifting is not just a high-profile multinationals issue. The OECD’s work, once implemented in Australia’s domestic law and/or treaty networks, has the potential to impact on corporations with offshore operations on a smaller scale. Tax practitioners advising inbound and outbound clients of any size should keep abreast of these developments. 

The Tax Institute will continue to be involved in these issues and I encourage members who would like to discuss this further to be in touch (taxpolicy@taxinstitute.com.au). 


Robert Jeremenko CTA is Senior 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, 6 October 2014

Recognising the tax profession's highest achievers

We are pleased to announce that nominations are once again open for The Tax Institute’s Tax Adviser of the Year Awards. Designed to celebrate the profession’s highest achievers, this is your chance to be recognised by the profession’s leading tax luminaries.

This year we’ve introduced two new categories; the SME Tax Adviser of the Year Award and the Corporate Tax Adviser of the Year Award.

Nominations close 9 December 2014

Nominate yourself, a colleague or industry peer in one of four award categories:
Entries close 9 December 2014 - Download your entry kit and application forms now and start working on your nomination today.

The awards will be judged by leading tax practitioners and will be presented at an official awards ceremony at our 30th National Convention on the Gold Coast in March 2015.

Three finalists selected in each category will be flown to the Gold Coast to attend the 30th National Convention and the Tax Adviser of the Year Awards gala dinner where the winner will be announced.

Take a look at the video from 2014 Tax Adviser of the Year Awards gala dinner:




To learn more about the awards, find out how to nominate, view previous winner’s profiles or learn about the categories, please visit our website.



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.

Sunday, 5 October 2014

Spring sittings of Parliament

The Tax Institute continued our ongoing engagement with key stakeholders this week, including key Federal MPs during the current Spring sittings of Parliament.

We met with both Government and Opposition MPs to discuss a range of tax matters of interest to both them and, of course, the Tax Institute. Topics included:

  • the need for financial planners providing tax advice to have appropriate tax and commercial law qualifications;
  • Tax White Paper latest: scope/coverage, timing, key reform topics;
  • Federation White Paper: revenue challenges for States, GST distribution;
  • G20/BEPS issues: domestic law changes/need for concerted international action; and
  • ATO Portal frustrations/ELS to SBR: the ongoing importance of the tax professional in an environment of moving towards more pre-filling/automation.

We look forward to continuing these discussions over the months ahead and, as always, welcome member input into our activities.

The Tax Policy team may be contacted via taxpolicy@taxinstitute.com.au.

Robert Jeremenko CTA is Senior 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.