Thursday, 4 August 2016

A closer look at the VIC 4th Annual Tax Forum program with Jason Barnes, CTA

Jason Barnes, CTA, is a member of the Organising Committee for the VIC 4th Annual Tax Forum. At King & Wood Mallesons he is a Special Counsel, and has over 15 years' tax experience. His experience includes roles as a Special Counsel at a specialist tax advisory firm, and two secondments to major banks in Hong Kong and Melbourne.

Primarily practising in the area of income tax (including tax audits and litigation), his practice also extends to goods and services tax, stamp duty and resource taxes, but he tells us “My current favourite tax topic of interest is the new foreign resident capital gains withholding regime!”

We spoke to Jason about the upcoming VIC 4th Annual Tax Forum, and some of the sessions he’s looking forward to.

Asked what the Forum means to him, and more broadly, to the tax profession, Jason said “It’s an opportunity to hear and learn from some of the best tax minds in the country and to catch up and network with colleagues - existing and former - and clients”.

Looking at the wide-ranging program, featuring 28 sessions and more than 40 presenters, Jason told us “I’m really looking forward to PwC’s Greg Weickhardt and Peter Collins, FTI, on ‘Coping with Cross-Border Attack’. They’ll be digging into the issues around the multinational anti-avoidance law (MAAL), and why it has affected more taxpayers than originally intimated by the government, and which industries and operating models have been most impacted. They’ll also be discussing what’s next for multinationals dealing with transfer pricing, MAAL and OECD and other law changes”.

“David White, from Victoria University of Wellington, is sharing his experience with New Zealand’s experiments with different tax reform structures and institutions in a couple of case studies on GST and CGT reform in his session ‘Tax Reform – What Can We Learn From New Zealand’ which should prove very interesting too”, he continued.

“The panel session ‘Tax Governance for Corporations’ that Sarah Blakelock, CTA (KPMG) is facilitating is also high on my agenda. Governance is an evolving beast, and the panel of Jeff Stevenson (Australian Taxation Office), Robert Gallo (PwC) and Stuart Cameron, CTA (Suncorp Group) will have interesting takes on what it means for the ATO, an adviser and a Chief risk officer respectively”.

“Last but not least I think every practitioner will find something of interest in the ‘Battle of the Think Tanks’ session on day two of the Forum. Michael Potter of the Centre for Independent Studies, John Daley from the Grattan Institute and Peter Davidson of the Australian Council of Social Service are some of the country’s pre-eminent tax policy thinkers and will be discussing and debating the future of tax reform following the federal election. Paul Abbey from PwC is facilitating and may well have his work cut out for him”.

Asked what he enjoys doing when he’s not knee-deep in tax, Jason said “I’m an avid North Melbourne supporter, but have recently rediscovered my passion for basketball and can’t wait to watch some NBA games live when I’m in the US later this year. I also like to get involved in the sporting pursuits of my children (including perfecting my boundary throw-ins as a football boundary umpire), to keep fit, to spend time in the garden (weeding, pruning hedges and raking up leaves can be very therapeutic) and to watch ‘House of Cards’ with my wife”.

The VIC 4th Annual Tax Forum takes place 5-6 October 2016 at the Park Hyatt, Melbourne. Featuring three 3 streams (Corporate, Private Clients and Hot Topics), 28 technical sessions, more than 40 expert speakers, and 11.5 CPD hours, this is Victoria’s premier tax program. Find out more.

Wednesday, 27 July 2016

Tax Governance for Corporations - The VIC 4th Annual Tax Forum

Robert Gallo is a Partner at PwC, where he helps tax functions transform their operations through the use of strategy, risk management and technology solutions. Here we speak to him about his session at the VIC 4th Annual Tax Forum.

Robert has more than 15 years’ experience in advising clients on optimising their tax reporting and compliance processes as well as transforming their tax functions to best balance their use of strategy, people, processes and technology. His experience expands across tax functions in various geographies and industries including banking and finance, retail, manufacturing, energy and mining. This experience includes tax function design and assessment, application of tax corporate governance and risk management frameworks, process improvement, tax software implementation combined with tax project assurance.

In his session at the VIC 4th Annual Tax Forum, Robert will take part in a panel discussion with Jeff Stevenson (Australian Taxation Office) and Stuart Cameron, CTA (Suncorp Group), facilitated by Sarah Blakelock, CTA (KPMG) looking at ‘Tax Governance for Corporations’.

In the backdrop of tax reform, increased media attention and tax transparency, Robert and his panel cohorts will discuss organisational risk management and governance and the interaction with tax, the ATO’s risk differentiation framework, the implications of the ATO’s tax risk management and governance review guide, as well as the impending release of ATO guidance to directors of their duties around tax.

Robert tells us “Attendees will learn about what others are doing in terms of tax governance and risk management from a practical perspective, and what it means for different roles across the organisation.”

The session looks at the continuing evolution of tax governance for corporations and what that means for a Chief Risk Officer, an adviser, and for the ATO.

Asked what the Tax Forum means to him, and more broadly, to the tax profession, Robert replied “The Forum is a good way of connecting and networking with the industry. It presents a good opportunity to understand the challenges as well as sharing solutions between peers in what I refer to as leading practices across tax governance and risk management.”

Join us for the VIC 4th Annual Tax Forum on 5-6 October 2016 at the Park Hyatt, Melbourne. Choose from 28 sessions over the two days, across three streams – Corporate, Private and Hot Topics. Includes 11.5 CPD hours. Find out more. 

Tuesday, 26 July 2016

Superannuation with an international flavour - Marsha–Laine Dungog JD, LLM, and Roy Berg JD, LLM

On day two of the 2016 National Superannuation Conference we are joined by two US based practitioners for the session ‘US Tax Issues Affecting Australian Superannuation Fund Members with a US Connection’, Marsha–Laine F Dungog JD, LLM, and Roy Berg JD, LLM. We spoke to them about what to expect from their session.

An international tax lawyer admitted to practice in California, Michigan, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, the US Tax Court and the U.S. Supreme Court, Marsha–Laine Dungog JD, LLM, is a senior US tax lawyer at Moodys Gartner Tax Law LLP. Marsha specialises in crossborder tax planning and tax compliance services for high net worth individuals and entrepreneurs. She has over 15 years of experience providing international tax consulting

Roy Berg JD, LLM, is an international tax lawyer and admitted to practice in Canada and the U.S. and Director, US Tax Law, and Barrister and Solicitor of Moodys Gartner Tax Law LLP. Roy has more than 23 years of experience in cross-border tax matters, IRS controversy, estate planning and finance.

Ending the conference with a strong international flavour, Marsha and Roy’s session will examine current trends in the US tax treatment of Australian superannuation funds and its implications for US citizens and Australian residents with US tax reporting obligations.

They will also discuss the various administrative remedies and legislative policy changes presented before the US Department of Treasury, the Internal Revenue Service, US Tax Court and tax-writing committees of the US Congress that could ameliorate these US tax liabilities.

Asked what attendees expect to learn from their session, Marsha said “Delegates will be able to appreciate helpful provisions in the Australia-US Totalization Agreements and Tax Treaty that would mitigate potential exposure of the Super and its members (with a US connection) to harmful US tax consequences, as well as incorporate the potential US tax consequences to the Super and its members that may arise from certain actions undertaken by or on behalf of the Super.”

Roy said “Delegates will learn how to identify U.S. citizen participants (the accent doesn’t always give it away) and the tax the consequences of not reporting properly” as well as “how the US classifies Supers, how it doesn’t classify them, where additional guidance is needed, and how FATCA reporting has increased the stakes for coming into tax compliance”.

Marsha mentioned “Delegates will gain an understanding of the various income tax and reporting obligations of Supers with US persons who are member-beneficiaries; how to utilize the US-Australia Totalization and Tax Treaty Agreements; and how tax amnesty programs/enforcement initiatives may be able to assist in the US treatment of Supers. Delegates will also walk away with a better understanding of the US tax implications of Super activities (contributions, accretions and distributions); and hear about potential US tax exposures and planning strategies with their clients and manage potential US tax reporting obligations arising therefrom.”

Asked about new or hot topics they will cover, Marsha pointed to “Potential US income and estate tax exposures for the Superannuation Fund and its members.”

Looking ahead, when asked about their predictions for the new financial year, Marsha responded “US and Australian legislative or treasury department advisors may take a closer look at the current state of Super taxation by the US and look for permanent solutions that may be addressed vie executive or legislative branches of government.” Roy said “With FATCA reporting currently underway and reporting under the common reporting standard soon to follow, I predict that the international tax aspects of government and private retirement schemes will become even more relevant to clients and practitioners alike.”

“The Conference exposes me to different stakeholder perspectives on Superannuation and identifies planning strategies and remedies that may be helpful for my clients. It also provides an opportunity to engage in meaningful dialogue with our peers and colleagues on Superannuation policy and taxation from different corners of the world to identify trends and coordinate advocacy initiatives.”, Marsha said.

Roy told us “The National Superannuation Conference is the premier venue to: a) learn about tax changes that affect my clients; b) network with peers; and c) obtain insight into administrative rules.”

The 2016 National Superannuation Conference takes place 25-26 August at the Crown Conference Hall, Melbourne. Featuring two streams – Large Fund and Self-Managed Superannuation Funds and including 12 CPD hours it has been accredited by the SMSF Association and the Financial Planners Association.

Meet the presenters: 2016 National GST Intensive

For a somewhat simple tax, GST continues to surprise many practitioners with its increasing complexity. The program of this year’s National GST Intensive recognises this complexity, and covers emerging and topical areas as well as looking at some of the basic building blocks of GST that continue to be controversial.

We spoke with two of the presenters from this year’s Intensive, which takes place 8–9 September 2016 at Four Points Darling Harbour, in Sydney.

David W Marks QC, CTA, of Inns of Court Chambers, Brisbane, is a commercial silk specialising in taxation. He co-presents ‘Correcting Mistakes Ratification’, along with Michael Patane, CTA, a consultant with more than 25 years’ experience, and Alex Affleck, Director of Technical Leadership within the Superannuation Business Line of the ATO.

David tells us his session is designed to help “people to feel more comfortable when asked about something that sounds very technical”. “I’m talking about something that we are expected to now, but rarely have to touch. I’ll be practical and try to demystify the area”, he said.

David, Michael and Alex's session examines the availability of the remedy of rectification in correcting mistakes in transactional documentation. Examples of where the remedy has been sought in the GST context include whether a contract is GST inclusive or GST exclusive and whether the parties intended the going concern provisions to apply. They will look at the required elements for rectification and evidentiary burden, a comparison to ratification and retrospective amendment, court ordered rectification compared to rectification by deed, and more.

Asked about his predictions for the new financial year, David said “More case law, as people become aware of the possibilities”.

David told us that to him, the Intensive represents “Practical sessions, and sharing knowledge” and that he is particularly looking forward to The Hon. Justice Tony Pagone’s Keynote Address ‘Interpretation of the GST Act and Influence of the Other Areas of Law’.

Kevin O’Rourke is an indirect tax partner at Deloitte Australia and has been advising on GST since its inception in Australia, and even earlier as a member of the Technical Sub-Committee of the GST Planning and Co-Ordination Committee established to advise the Hewson-led Coalition in the early 90s on the introduction of a GST.

Frequently named as a leading indirect tax adviser by the International Tax Review, Kevin is a solicitor of the Supreme Court of New South Wales and of the High Court of Australia, he is Co-Chair of the ATO’s GST Advisory Group, Chair of the Indirect Tax Committee for Chartered Accountants Australia and New Zealand, and is a member of the Taxation Committee of the Law Council of Australia.

Affiliated with the Institute for many years, he has been attending and presenting at our GST conferences ever since it was introduced. Asked what the National GST Intensive mean to him, and more broadly, to the tax profession, Kevin told us “The National GST Intensive is, as the name might suggest, a peak conference on GST technical issues”

Presenting ‘Taking the Purpose Out of Creditable Purpose’ on day two of the Intensive, Kevin’s session looks at this foundational concept of GST. His session will cover Rio Tinto and earlier cases, relevance of purpose and motive and asymmetry in the way that acquisitions relating to input taxed supplies and acquisitions relating to other supplies are treated.

Kevin told us “My session ultimately provides an analytical framework for the concept of ‘creditable purpose’ which is a gateway to claiming those important input tax credits. The analytical framework for assessing creditable purpose will be of most assistance in helping delegates help their clients”. He also predicted “The ATO will issue something more formal on this topic at some point during this financial year”.

Looking at the Intensive more broadly, Kevin mentioned “Somewhat dauntingly, my session is sandwiched between two eminent senior counsel, both of whom I am looking forward to listening to [David W Marks QC of Inns of Court Chambers, Brisbane with Michael Patane, CTA, and Alex Affleck on ‘Correcting Mistakes Ratification’ and Tony Slater, QC, FTI, of Ground Floor Wentworth Chambers’ session on ‘Supply’].

Join us and bring your knowledge on key GST issues up to date, discover the latest thinking and take advantage of this great opportunity to network with colleagues and fellow GST experts. The 2016 National GST Intensive takes place 8–9 September 2016 at Four Points Darling Harbour, in Sydney.

Monday, 25 July 2016

Emerging Issues in Superannuation: The 2016 National Superannuation Conference

Brad Ivens is an Executive Director at Ernst & Young. Working with clients ranging from some of Australia’s largest industry and employer sponsored funds, through to public sector and self-managed funds, he has over 18 years’ experience in providing tax compliance and advisory services for the superannuation industry.

We spoke to Brad about the session he’ll be presenting at the 2016 National Superannuation Conference with Phil Witherow, CTA, from Cbus, “Emerging Issues in Superannuation”.

Asked what attendees can expect to learn from their session, Brad replied “We are covering the new Attribution Managed Investment Trust rules, looking at how the global Base Erosion and Profit Shifting phenomenon is impacting large super funds, providing updates as to where the ATO are at with Tax Risk Management, Foreign Income Tax Offsets, and the re-write of Taxation Ruling 93/17. We'll also be discussing some key of the key superannuation reforms coming out of the recent Budget and election. And somehow we are going to fit this all in within an hour!”

Designed to provide an overview on various legislative, ATO and other tax-related developments affecting the superannuation industry, Brad noted “As we are not doing a deep dive on one issue in particular, what we hope to do is provide the 'need to know' information, and also some practical perspectives on what it means and how to address each item.”

Asked about his predictions for the new financial year, Brad said “Get ready for lots of changes. The superannuation industry should really get on the front foot with what has been proposed.”

“We hope to provoke discussion on these issues, where delegates can bring their thoughts and perspectives to the table. We can all learn a lot from each other, and the tax professionals within the superannuation industry in particular are very good at collaborating for the greater good.” Brad said.

Looking at the conference more broadly, Brad said “It really is the showcase event for superannuation tax professionals to connect with each other and to discuss current technical issues and broader tax policies. No other conference has same level of in-depth analysis. At the same time, I know that folk in the superannuation industry who are not necessarily tax experts can also attend to expand their learning, and it is credit to the Institute and the presenters that such a cross-section can be catered to.” 

Personally, Brad tells us “I returned to EY in January this year after a 2 year hiatus. Previously I had been at EY for 16 years from 1998 to 2014 so it was a bit of a “homecoming”. Speaking of home, I am married with 4 children aged from 1 to 8. Yes, it’s a lot of work (especially for my dear wife who is a star). And as we live in Geelong, we are all Cats fans.”

The 2016 National Superannuation Conference takes place 25-26 August 2016 at Crown Conference Hall, Melbourne. The premier event for tax specialists within the superannuation industry, it uniquely deals with the tax issues affecting both the large fund and self-managed superannuation fund (SMSF) sectors. Find out more