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Showing posts from November, 2012

Part IVA general anti-avoidance rule changes

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It was late on a Friday afternoon a couple of weeks ago that the Government decided to demonstrate that it truly believes in a transparent and open policy debate by releasing the exposure draft of the Part IVA general anti-avoidance rule changes.

Foreshadowed by the former Assistant Treasurer in March this year, this is the first opportunity that the community has had to see the draft detail of the changes.

Despite the Government's attempt to minimise any media coverage of the announcement, The Tax Institute issued its media release in response that same afternoon.

The Government's proposed changes to the general anti-avoidance rule are an overreaction to recent court cases. The sweeping changes will increase taxpayer uncertainty and negatively affect already dwindling business sentiment.

The proposed changes extend well beyond the Government's announced intention of correcting minor defects in the law highlighted by recent court cases. By changing laws that have been in p…

The benefits of face-to-face CPD

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The Tax Institute’s National Council has observed that a shift appears to be taking place from the time-honoured face-to-face professional development events to structured education and remote learning. Perhaps this is inevitable as technology takes hold and a new generation of tax adviser emerges.

However, there is still a lot to be said for the collegiality of the CPD events. They have served us well for nearly 70 years and have assisted many callow tax advisers to grow into the well-rounded experts that they are today. Your president can look back over 30 years or so of time well spent (and a little not so well spent) at national and state conventions. These events are where the generations pass on the ability to master not only tax technical content, but also how to behave with clients and, more importantly, with our peers.

This conveniently segues into my final topic, the privileged position of the president when attending state conventions.

This last month, it has been the Victo…

The Tax Institute welcomes Chris Jordan as the next Commissioner of Taxation

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With the announcement last week that Mr Chris Jordan AO will be the next Commissioner of Taxation, one of the big questions in tax administration in this country has been answered. From 1 January next year the ATO will have its first private sector Commissioner at the helm in a hundred years.

The Tax Institute has welcomed the appointment of Chris Jordan as the new Commissioner.

We see it as a fresh injection of private sector experience at the helm of the ATO. Given that the ATO is one of the largest and most significant Australian Government agencies, it is important that it continues to strengthen existing ties with the private sector.

Chris' many years of service on the Board of Taxation, most recently as its Chairman, are evidence of his ability to bring significant private sector expertise to bear on tax policy and administration.

With the Government's promised (but not yet delivered) Tax System Advisory Board set to oversight the ATO on its management functions, the new …

New online and offline CPD from The Tax Institute

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2012 Annual Business and Professions Study

As mentioned last month, The Tax Institute has once again participated in the 2012 Annual Business and Professions Study conducted by Beaton Consulting. For those of you who completed the survey via email, your responses are very much appreciated. The results, available in 2013, from the survey will assist us in identifying areas where there may be scope to improve member services and add further value to membership.

Tax Knowledge eXchange

Congratulations to the latest winner in our Tax Knowledge eXchange 10th anniversary celebrations. Peter Tsang, Partner with Peter Tsang & Lee in Burwood, NSW, has won a free subscription to Australia’s leading tax knowledge base.

For your chance to win one of the two remaining free subscriptions, visit our website and register for your free trial.

New titles from The Tax Institute

Don’t forget, we publish the Division 7A Handbook 2012-13 in October, and if you place your pre-order before 19 October, you’l…

Social media for tax professionals: getting started with Facebook

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Discover how to use Facebook to build your business and generate leads.

What is Facebook?

Facebook is the most popular social networking service on the internet, with over one billion active users. It allows users to create a personal profile, upload images and videos, share their thoughts through status updates, and connect and keep in touch with friends and family.

Unlike other social networking sites like Twitter and LinkedIn, Facebook is more personal and the platform makes it easier to deliver many different types of content, including videos and images.

Why get involved?

Chances are you have a personal account on Facebook. While you may or may not use this for networking related to your business, taking the next step and creating a page (as opposed to a profile) for your business will help gain you visibility, help build relationships and develop new ones, and make your services more accessible for your clients.

According to Facebook for Business, over one billion people “like” an…

How much do proposals really cost

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Last week saw the Government and Opposition trade blows on leaked Treasury costings, bringing into sharp focus the question that has dominated tax policy discussions for years: how much do proposals really cost?

With the forecast of a wafer thin Budget surplus this year, the cost of tax measures has played an increasingly central role in policy decision making. The importance of costing measures appropriately cannot be understated - everyone involved in developing tax policy has been forced to deal with the consequences of significant changes in actual versus projected costs of tax measures.

The current Treasury costings process is thorough, but it is understandably limited by the nature and availability of data. In an economy undergoing significant structural changes, data may be significantly out of date by the time it is used to cost a proposed measure. This combined with the use of the four year forward estimates period may not allow the full impact of each measure to be properly …

Death and taxes – free presentation

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Increasing numbers of Australians are disposing of significant wealth through their wills. Accountants and lawyers are therefore frequently encountering large estates, where the executors may incur significant taxation liabilities, depending upon how they administer the estate.

In this presentation Michael Flynn, CTA, outlines strategies for minimising tax liabilities that may arise in administering deceased estates. Download Michael’s presentation free below, and read on for a special offer on Estate & Business Succession Planning 2012-13.

Michael’s presentation covers:

when are beneficiaries presently entitled to estate income? tax consequences of realising assets varying the terms of a will after death obtaining endorsement for estates with tax exempt beneficiaries distributing assets to tax exempt and non-resident beneficiaries injecting income and capital into testamentary trustsCGT main residence exemption 
Download this presentation free [PDF]. For a more complete picture, yo…

Introducing The Chartered Tax Adviser Program

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28th National Convention – Perth

This month, we launch the Institute’s premier annual taxation event, the 28th National Convention. In 2013, it moves to the Perth Convention and Exhibition Centre from 13 to 15 March. As always, the convention will cover the very latest technical content and will have ample networking opportunities and an expo showcasing exclusive offers from our business alliance partners.

Held over three days, this is your opportunity to choose from over 30 sessions, hear from experts with real practical insight, network with presenters, colleagues and peers, and explore the Western Australia capital.

This is a must-attend event. I look forward to seeing you there!

The future of the tax profession and you

Throughout November, we are holding Chartered Tax Adviser information sessions in most capital cities.
If you want to better understand what it means to be a CTA, I encourage you to attend one of these sessions. I also encourage you to invite colleagues who are not C…

A wasted opportunity for tax reform?

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This week will see the trifecta of the Melbourne Cup, the Reserve Bank's interest rate decision and the US election, so it seems timely to reflect on the contrasting economic positions of Australia and the US.

With American voters left contemplating emergency tax measures to prevent the country from falling off a fiscal cliff, it appears that Australian policymakers are wasting the opportunity for tax reform presented by our relatively healthy economy.

The US presidential candidates are canvassing an array of tax policies to shore up the nation's financial position. They include broadening the tax base and lowering the tax rate imposed on small business, cutting company tax and changing the individual tax regime.

With a rising budget deficit and government debt, the new US administration will need to raise a mountain of revenue to start paying down its $US5 trillion deficit. This significant budgetary challenge has led to the serious contemplation of tax policies that would in…

Small business and its new Commissioner

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Small business taxpayers, in particular those described by the Australian Taxation Office as micro-businesses, struggle with red tape and the over-weening requirements of tax administration. As a complete aside, I have never liked the term “micro-business” because it appears to be pejorative; for those who run the business, there is nothing bigger in their lives and for those who depend on the business for employment, it is of crucial importance. Perhaps we could call them “very important businesses” (VIP businesses) to capture the essence of their significance for the Australian economy.

Members may recall that, way back in May 2012, The Tax Institute hosted a roundtable discussion on the definition of small business as it appears in a plethora of legislation, both state and federal. Just as examples, the definition is relevant in Fair Work, WorkCover and social security. The meeting  was attended by senior representatives of governments, including the Assistant Treasurer, Mr David Br…