Wednesday, 22 October 2014

The Tax Institute’s education training is a win-win for partners and employees

As students begin the search for grad positions and employers start sifting through countless CVs, we took the opportunity to sit down with Martin Booth, partner at Moore Stephens Sydney, to talk about his ideal candidate. 

We expect both cadets and graduates to do The Tax Institute’s CTA1 and CTA2 courses at Moore Stephens Sydney and, when it’s introduced, we’ll also be encouraging them to undertake the Graduate Diploma of Applied Tax Law.

We’ve always found The Tax Institute’s tax training a win-win for both the partners and its employees. At university, people will often only do one tax subject, which only covers some very basic legal concepts. And if my experience is anything to go by, it goes in one ear and out the other as soon as exams are over.

I’ve got a Master’s of Taxation degree, so I think I’m in a good position to draw a comparison between lawyers and accountants. What I like about The Tax Institute’s courses are that they’re more focused on the legal rather than accounting end of the spectrum, yet they have a practical focus.

The CTA1 provides an opportunity for all the important concepts to be encountered several times and truly understood. Certainly, once employees have finished the CTA1, they’re able to undertake basic compliance jobs and pump out FBT, BAS and tax returns a lot quicker and with less supervision.

If the CTA1 teaches our staff how to be competent bookkeepers, the CTA2 and CTA3 teach them how to become advisors. Once they’ve done those more advanced tax courses, staff can move into a proprietary role, they can identify the issues and they can provide helpful solutions. I describe it as being able to create history rather than just recreating it – by which I mean instead of just taking data and turning it into a set of financials, you’re using that data to identify current or potential issues the client is facing.

Gen Y employees are typically keen to advance their careers quickly, and doing a tax training course allows them to do just that, as well as giving them a chance to learn from experienced lawyers and accountants who are at the coalface rather than from academics in educational institutions. Plus, it’s a great opportunity to network with like-minded people and make friends – I know I still catch up with people I’ve done different forms of tax training with over the years.

In terms of the financial return to Moore Stephens Sydney of outsourcing this taxation education, while we could have senior staff running internal training programs, it’s not a profitable use of their time. And the return we get on a taxation course means it more than pays for itself several times over. If you spend around $1000 putting a cadet or graduate through the CTA1, you can expect that to improve their efficiency to the point where they are generating an additional $6000 a year in revenue.
Our intention is to have staff, at the appropriate stage of their professional development, undertake the Graduate Diploma of Applied Tax Law. There’s a gap in the market between the CA program and Master of Taxation, so I think there is a need for a simplified postgraduate tax course.

Martin Booth, partner at Moore Stephens Sydney

Enrolments for the Graduate Diploma of Applied Tax Law subjects for Study Period 1 in 2015 are now open.However, if you want to get started in 2014 the subjects CTA1 Foundations, and CTA2A Advanced are currently open for enrolments for Study Period 3 2014. 

Find out more, and enrol, at

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.


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 ( 

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.