Friday, 24 May 2013

Parliament, the ATO and beyond...

Last month must be labelled consultation month.

Recently, Robert Jeremenko, CTA, our Senior Tax Counsel, and I have spent some more time in Canberra with various MPs, senators and their advisers discussing various tax issues. We continue to advocate for the introduction into parliament of announced but unenacted tax changes. This list continues to grow and is of considerable concern to the Institute; we have asked for the process to be sufficiently resourced to bring the list to a reasonable position.

We continue our stance on Pt IVA and transfer pricing amendments and these now go before the Senate Economics Committee at which we will provide further evidence. We continue our stance on superannuation: that superannuation should not be tinkered with and that maintaining confidence in the system is paramount. We also discussed the issues facing revenue authorities around the world in having to deal with emerging developments in global economic trade and the tax concepts such as residency and source that are confronting them. We advised our continued willingness to contribute to consultation as the leading professional association in tax.

As we saw, there hasn't been any significant inroads to the tax legislative backlog introduced, given the 2013-14 Budget, together with other key government platform issues, that occupied the majority of parliamentary sitting time.

So where does this leave us? As I said above, Pt IVA and transfer pricing measures are before the Senate and the outcome may be determined during this Budget sitting. It is unlikely that any trust measures will be introduced as it appears that there isn’t consensus on an appropriate option for trust reform to progress and thus further consultation will probably be the outcome.

While we agree with the proposed process, trust reform should not be stalled or shelved. We have draft legislation for the removal of the CGT discount for non-residents, on which we have made a submission, and expect that there will be some redrafting. This may make these sittings. As to the announced superannuation changes, it is unlikely that we will see any legislation. The outcome of these announcements will probably be subject to the decision of the 44th parliament that forms after the September election.

Stephen
Westaway
Stephen Westaway 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.