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 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.

Tuesday, 24 March 2015

March's presentations from our leading events (Free for members).

Here's a selection of presentations from our leading events series from March.

Members of The Tax Institute can access these presentations for free by clicking the links below (make sure you’re logged in to our website). Non-members can purchase the presentations for only $15 each.

Many of these presentations have an accompanying technical paper available to purchase. Alternatively, subscribe to the Tax Knowledge eXchange for unlimited access to papers, journal articles, daily tax news and more.

Members, don't forget you also receive a free technical paper each month as one of your membership benefits. During March you can download 'ATO reinvention & managing disputes post independent review', from Deborah Hastings.

Don’t forget, a Tax Knowledge eXchange subscription gives you unlimited access to these presentations, papers, articles from our journals, and much more.

Tax Knowledge eXchange

The Tax Institute runs over 300 CPD seminars a year, and all papers and presentations provided by the speakers from our seminars are available through the website individually or through a Tax Knowledge eXchange subscription.

Friday, 20 March 2015

30th National Convention

At The Tax Institute’s 30th National Convention this week, Commissioner of Taxation, Chris Jordan AO, unveiled the “Reinventing the ATO” blueprint. The blueprint contains the ATO’s program of change and describes the kind of experience that taxpayers and tax professionals can look forward to having when they deal with the ATO. There is emphasis on ease-of-use, efficiency and removing unnecessary and burdensome reporting and regulations.

We welcome the release of the ATO’s official plan to improve its operations and processes.  The introduction of new initiatives, such as issuing ‘OK Letters’ to eligible taxpayers for their 2015 income tax returns to confirm they will not be subject to any future compliance activity, is a welcome move. The initiatives contained in the blueprint show the ATO is taking a proactive approach to alleviating the compliance burden on taxpayers, though there is still a long way to go.

A link to our media release is here.

Members who are interested in finding out more about the ATO’s blueprint can find more information here.

Other news

In other news, the House of Representatives Tax & Revenue Committee met on Wednesday 18 March in relation to its inquiry into the “Annual Report of the Australian Taxation Office 2014”. The Tax Institute made a written submission to the Committee in relation to this inquiry. Our submission is here.

We also lodged our submission with the ATO in relation to their initiative on “Single Touch Payroll”. Though supportive of the initiative as it may be beneficial for many businesses, we have some concern that the initiative may not necessarily reduce red tape for small businesses. A link to our submission is here.

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.

Thursday, 19 March 2015

Highlights from day 1 of the National Convention

The day kicked off with a golf tournament, which was virtually washed out as torrential rain hit the Gold Coast. Many of the groups only lasted 6 holes but one committed group battled through the horrible conditions and finished the round, which was quite impressive! Rose Thompsett won the tournament with 36 points.
Autopia, one of the events sponsors has brought along two Audi’s, including an Audi R8, worth an impressive $450,000! Unfortunately the winner of the passport draw doesn’t get to take the car home.

Highlights from some of the afternoon sessions:

Jeremy Hirschhorn, Chief Tax Counsel, Australian Taxation Office and Greg Travers, Director, William Buck discussed a practical, advisory approach to the new Part IVA.

Jeremy explained his ‘snip test’ approach to Part IVA. “If you can snip off part the transaction and the commercial outcome doesn’t change much but the tax outcome is vastly different, you may be in trouble.” Another take out was "Imagine sitting in a witness box. Could you put your hand on your heart and explain why you undertook this transaction?
In the afternoon Bernard Salt delivered an entertaining update on the generational and demographic shifts that are occurring and the opportunities they present for the tax profession.

The Tax Institute's 30th National Convention is being held on the Gold Coast. With an expert team of leading tax professionals shaping the content and a growing list of delegates who are amongst the best and brightest in the tax profession, the National Convention is undoubtedly the premier taxation conference in Australia.