Thursday, 24 April 2014

Tax reform is yet to come

It’s crucial that the government takes a whole-of-nation approach to addressing the myriad issues raised in the Henry Review.

The government’s much anticipated Tax Reform White Paper, which I noted in my previous column, is an ideal forum to deal with these broader issues. In our recent federal Budget submission, we called for reform of taxation of trusts to be dealt with as part of this process. Reform of the rules governing the taxation of trusts is essential to provide certainty to the thousands of taxpayers that use trusts, reduce compliance costs and prevent outcomes that are inconsistent with the policy intent.

Reform of state taxes to create a more efficient tax system while boosting investment and growth should also be addressed as part of this consultation. By taking a leadership position on state tax reform, the government has an opportunity to bring the states on board with a unified vision for tax reform in Australia. Potentially, this could lead to a greater role for consumption taxes such as the GST, and replacing inefficient and complicated state taxes.

The government’s red tape repeal days are a welcome development but genuine deregulation of the tax system is yet to come.

Michael Flynn CTA is President of the National Council at 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, 23 April 2014

Speaker Profile: How to treat costs associated with buy-sell transactions and corporate restructures

In the latest speaker profile in our series, we sit down with Craig Duncan from PwC who is presenting the How to treat costs associated with buy-sell transactions and corporate restructures session with Mark Edmonds at the upcoming 7th Annual Tax Forum.

Tell us about yourself

I am a Director in the PwC Indirect Taxes Group in Sydney specialising in GST and have over twelve years’ experience in both Australian and UK indirect taxes.

I specialise in advising clients on GST issues on projects including; IPOs, takeovers of public companies, mergers, buying and selling companies and assets, domestic and international corporate reorganisations and public private partnerships.

What does The Tax Forum mean to you, and more broadly, to the tax industry?

The annual Tax Forum is an important event, not only from a tax technical training perspective, but it is also a great environment to network with peers in the tax industry.

What is the topic that you are presenting at the 7th Annual Tax forum?

The session I am presenting is called “How to treat costs associated with buy-sell transactions and corporate restructures”.

What can attendees expect to learn from your session?

The session aims to give delegates a good understanding of the differing income tax and GST treatment of transaction costs, and of the relevant issues to consider to maximise the ability to claim deductions/credits.

What new or hot topics will you cover?

Topical issues include recovery of GST on transaction costs, including costs incurred in respect of unsuccessful transactions.

How will attending your session help delegates help their clients?

Advisors should be assisted through an enhanced knowledge of the GST recovery on transaction costs.

What do you like to do when you’re not knee-deep in tax?

I like to travel and watch AFL and rugby (and almost any other sport).

The annual Tax Forum has become the must attend event in the NSW calendar for practitioners and tax professionals, and features 42 sessions and over 50 speakers, which gives you plenty of technical content to take back to the office.

Find out more about the conference and register now.

Tuesday, 22 April 2014

Member survey findings

To ensure that we continue to be responsive to members’ needs, the Institute once again participated in the Annual Business and Professions Study run by Beaton Research + Consulting. This survey measures member satisfaction, engagement and the overall performance of the Institute, and benchmarks the Institute against other associations in the market.

The results showed that we are generally getting things right, maintaining high scores for member engagement, keeping members up to date, and value of membership.

We appreciate members’ feedback, which continually helps us to confirm that we are moving in the right direction and ensures that we quickly respond to any areas needing improvement.

2014-15 membership renewal

Being a member of The Tax Institute means you have demonstrated a strong level of technical knowledge of the tax system and the highest level of ethical and professional conduct.

I invite all members to renew your membership online. This year, all online renewals made before 13 June 2014 go into the draw to win one of five iPad minis preloaded with Tax Institute e-books (valued at $1,000!), including our new title, The Tax Adviser's Guide to Part IVA.

Annual report and AGM

The Tax Institute’s annual report will be available online from late April, and the AGM will be held at 4.00pm on Wednesday 21 May 2014 at the Institute’s offices.

Tax Adviser of the Year Awards

The response to the Tax Adviser of the Year Awards was overwhelming. High-calibre nominations flooded in, making the judging process a long and difficult one. Three finalists were selected in each category and flown to Hobart to attend the 29th National Convention and the tax awards gala dinner.

The finalists and winners were announced in a ceremony on 20 March 2013. Meet the winners and finalists.

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.

Thursday, 17 April 2014

Commission of Audit report

As we head into the Easter long-weekend, the Federal Government is mulling over the release of its Commission of Audit report.

The Commission was established by the Government as an independent body to review and report on the Government’s performance, functions and roles.

The report is expected to be released publicly next week and will contain recommendations for wide-ranging and substantial reductions in government spending, including suggested changes to the size and operations of government departments and agencies.

The Government’s response to the Audit report will be detailed in the May Budget, which may also contain new revenue measures to assist in addressing the deficit.

Technical Committees at The Tax Institute

A quick reminder to members about the opportunity to become a member of the Tax Institute’s technical committees.

I encourage members who wish to become involved in the technical committees to consider the new structure (that was outlined in my previous blog post) and express your interest in being involved with a particular committee that aligns most closely with your expertise and ability to contribute. To do so, please email us at Tax Policy indicating the committee(s) of interest as well as a brief outline of your relevant experience as soon as possible.

Australia’s top lawyers

And finally this week, congratulations to the members who were named in the Financial Review’s list of Australia's top lawyers. Being chosen through an exhaustive evaluation survey of their professional peers is a wonderful achievement indeed.

Access the full list.

Robert Jeremenko
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, 16 April 2014

Meet a member: Judy White, CTA at BDO

Judy White, CTA
Judy White, CTA

Judy White, CTA





Member since


Areas of specialty

I specialise in three key areas of taxation:

  • employment taxes, particularly fringe benefits tax and superannuation guarantee;
  • tax effect accounting; and
  • accounting and taxation advice (including GST implementation) to the financial services industry, drawing on my experience of working with credit union clients since 1999.

Why are you a member of The Tax Institute?

I consider my membership of The Tax Institute a great privilege, especially given the experience I've gained through the networks I've developed and the education programs.

I became a member for two reasons. First, I was lecturing with the Institute on its education programs so had first-hand insight into the value to be gained through membership. Second, I was very interested in the events provided by the Institute, most notably the financial services conference because of the link to my sector specialisation, and membership provided added benefits for such events.

Since joining more than five years ago, I have been impressed with the range of services and the quality of the education and seminars the Institute provides. This has been a key driver for me becoming increasingly involved in The Tax Institute, whether through attending seminars, or presenting lectures and seminars. This active involvement saw me become a member of the Membership Committee in 2012 and I've since been involved in other committees relating to education and the Young Tax Professionals program.

How is your membership beneficial to your practice and clients?

My membership is invaluable to BDO and my clients because the high quality of the training and education that I and my colleagues receive as members of The Tax Institute is clearly reflected in our work. Personally, I also gain great benefit from the many opportunities for members to network with each other and share insights.

How did you end up in tax?

Before specialising in tax, I worked in BDO’s business advisory services team, providing accounting, taxation and advisory services to a wide range of clients. In 2008, an opportunity arose to move into the tax team and because I am always up for a new challenge, I welcomed the opportunity to apply my skills in a new practice area. When I look back, it’s a shift I am very glad I made!

What are the challenges for tax practitioners this year?

With economic conditions continuing to place pressure on many sectors of the market, I see bringing in new clients as a key challenge for tax practitioners.

At BDO, we consider the need for meaningful tax reform to be of utmost importance for our clients and the broader Australian taxpaying community, so keeping up the momentum in this area will also be paramount.

Most memorable career moment to date

Most definitely when I was selected to represent The Tax Institute and conduct presentations as part of its FBT Roadshow in Queensland during 2012.

Other highlights include the uptake of a tax effect accounting tool I developed across the BDO in Australia network, and the professional and personal satisfaction I get from the long-standing relationships I have with my clients, particularly those in the credit union industry.

How do you relax?

I thoroughly enjoy listening to music, going to the gym and spending time with my family. My husband and I have two children (Xander, 9 and Alicia, 7) so a lot of time is spent as a family, whether that is enjoying a trip to the movies, going to Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary, taking a walk, or watching the kids take part in their chosen sports.

Advice to those entering the profession

Work hard and remember it’s the quality of time not the quantity of time that delivers the most benefit for you and your clients, and work on your professional relationships with colleagues and clients so you build a robust network. Most importantly, be yourself.

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.