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Showing posts from March, 2013

Recognising effective consultation

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Our tax counsel team and I were reviewing the new legislation, the Inspector-General of Taxation’s report of his Review into improving the self-assessment system, and emerging press releases related to superannuation.

The response: a series of timely press releases and media engagements leading to a number of quotes in the national press.

This is what happens when our volunteer members and our professional staff work effectively to deliver great outcomes. As president, I was extremely proud and grateful for the work done by all.

This is why The Tax Institute is the leading professional body in taxation.

As I visit various states, I continue to be impressed by the depth of our membership.

Of great interest to me is the number of hours we invest annually in consulting with government or government bodies.

Clearly, effective consultation with tax professionals, business and the community leads to better government policy and tax law design. As the leading professional body in tax, we are…

The operation of Div 7A rules – download four free case studies

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Download a copy of four free case studies [PDF] taken from the Division 7a Handbook 2012-13 that illustrate several aspects of the operation of the Div 7A rules and possible implications.

The four case studies from the handbook cover:

loan and payment by companypayment to trustunpaid present entitlement, anduse of company assets.
In addition, the handbook also covers the following case studies:

distributable surplusunpaid present entitlement and the operation of TR 2010/3 and PS LA 2010/4, andunpaid present entitlement created after end of income year.
Download the case studies [PDF], and purchase your copy of the Division 7A Handbook 2012-13 from our website today.


John Gaal of TaxCounsel is the author of our Division 7A Handbook 2012-13.

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.

SME considerations for tax law

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At The Tax Institute’s recent National Convention, much of the discussion and technical output was focussed on the multitude of tax issues in the SME sector.

As politicians love to say, small business is the backbone of the Australian economy, responsible for approximately half of all private sector employment of the Australian workforce.

However, as demonstrated by the raft of tax issues raised and discussed at National Convention, the SME sector continues to be strangled by excessively complicated tax laws which are themselves littered with cumbersome "integrity provisions". We remain concerned with this complexity and continue to advocate for the need to consider the unique investment, business and funding considerations that arise in the SME sector when writing tax laws.

To this end, we recently made a submission to the Productivity Commission with respect to their inquiry into "Regulator engagement with small business".

In our submission we highlighted the nee…

Tax Knowledge eXchange – now with up to 17 CPD hours

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Complimentary technical paper for members

This month’s complimentary technical paper for members provides an update on tax risk and corporate governance.

Have you used the Find a Tax Specialist service?

Make the most of your membership with The Tax Institute by promoting your services and specialities through our online Find a Tax Specialist listing so that potential clients can find you.

To set up your listing, simply select the “Show as Tax Specialist” option in your profile to add yourself to the listing or visit our website to find out more.

Asset protection online training

On 28 March 2013, the Institute will be hosting two asset protection webinars, including “Protecting assets before marriage” and “The Divorce — tips and traps to ensure a tax-effective separation”. Register now and top up your CPD hours without leaving the comfort of your office.

Superannuation roadshow

If you’re looking for a practical update on the latest superannuation news and developments and if you would lik…

What is iCPD? Watch this video to find out

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What is iCPD? It's tax training and development that you can access from your desk.

We understand that your time is valuable. That's why we've developed a range of web-based CPD options designed to suit the needs of the busy tax professional and complement our regular face to face sessions.

To understand how you can save time, and boost your CPD hours, with online tax training from The Tax Institute, watch the below animation.



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.

Tax Commissioner addresses National Convention in Perth

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Last week The Tax Institute held its 28th National Convention in Perth. There were three action packed days of sessions and it was fantastic to be able to speak with so many members as they interacted with the tax profession's best practitioners.

In addition to the fantastic tax technical sessions, we also enjoyed keynote speeches from the core disciplines of law, public administration, business and politics.

These included the first keynote speech by Tax Commissioner, Chris Jordan AO. The Commissioner outlined his plan to address long-held concerns over perceived bias in the Tax Office appeals process and place renewed focus on producing timely guidance on emerging tax law.


The Tax Institute welcomes this, as currently the ATO is the judge, jury and executioner in determining the fate of taxpayers, with the expensive Court and Tribunal process left as the only other taxpayer recourse.  Access to an independent and relatively inexpensive appeals process will bolster taxpayer confid…

A hard day’s work

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As national president, I attend a number of conventions and professional development forums during the year. First off the block was the Financial Services Taxation Conference in Queensland.

I have to take my hat off to the presenters, the convention organising committee and, of course, our conference staff.

It was an impressive conference, and full credit must go to the presenters. How many times have you volunteered your time to deliver a presentation, written the paper in time for it to be printed, completed your PowerPoint presentation, then arrived at the conference only to find out that the subject you are talking on has just had a major update? Well, the Financial Services Taxation Conference was one of those times.

As the speakers were arriving at the conference, the Assistant Treasurer, the Hon. David Bradbury, MP, was introducing the Tax Laws Amendment (Countering Tax Avoidance and Multinational Profit Shifting) Bill 2013 into the House of Representatives, containing amendme…

Tax and alcohol...how do they mix?

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The Tax Institute invites you to attend our brand new convention, "Tax Through the Bottom of a Glass", which has been carefully designed to give you the best possible technical content, while at the same time providing ample opportunity to network with the presenters and your fellow delegates.

You have worked hard to attract and retain your most entrepreneurial clients who are pioneering new products or new markets. Now, as their businesses grow, they are taking you with them into unchartered waters where you will encounter various taxation issues and opportunities of which your clients may not yet be aware. In fact, many taxation issues that might have been perceived as only for the "big end of town" can be highly relevant to small and medium, and even micro enterprises in any industry.

Working with your clients to discover and deal with their "unknown unknowns" will both challenge and reward you.

The alcohol industry is a perfect environment in which to…

Changes to Part IVA and Transfer Pricing reforms

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Members will recall that last month the Federal Government introduced a Bill to implement changes to Part IVA and the second phase of the Transfer Pricing reforms. The Bill is titled: Tax Laws Amendment (Countering Tax Avoidance and Multinational Profit Shifting) Bill 2013.

Whilst it is yet to be debated in Parliament, it has been referred for further examination to the House of Representatives Standing Committee on Economics; The Tax Institute has made a submission to the Committee.

With respect to Part IVA, we support the maintenance of a robust general income tax anti-avoidance rule to ensure that tax is levied fairly, consistently and according to the policy intention of the tax laws.

However, the amendments in the Bill are an unnecessary overreaction to recent Court cases and not required to maintain the integrity of the system. Furthermore, we are concerned that the Bill as drafted will bestow excessively wide powers on the Commissioner to levy tax on the basis of an unreasonabl…

New Course in Commercial Law

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In line with the changes to tax agent education requirements from 1 March 2013, The Tax Institute has this month launched a commercial law course for those tax professionals who require this field of study to register as tax agents.

The Course in Commercial Law has three units available and specific “modules” which relate to Tax Practitioner Board (TPB) required topics. The units are delivered via distance, supported by webinar tutorials and a course convenor.

Now enrolling for the Chartered Tax Adviser Program

We have received a great response for the first intake for our Chartered Tax Adviser Program courses — CTA1 Foundations, CTA2 Advanced and CTA3 Advisory. You and your staff can enrol now in these practical and relevant courses for study period 2, 2013.

In particular, if you are considering becoming a Chartered Tax Adviser (CTA), ensure you enrol in the one and only CTA3 Advisory Exam in 2013 which will be sat on 27 August 2013.

The CTA3 Advisory Exam is the assessment-only pathw…

Everything you need to know about super in 2013

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Three minutes with Jemma Sanderson, CTA, the author of our SMSF Guide 2012 and Director at Cooper Partners Financial Services, who is presenting at our upcoming superannuation seminars.

What hot topics will you be covering?

The last six months has seen some great guidance from the ATO, as well as draft legislation with respect to pensions and the pension exemption.  We have been waiting impatiently for such guidance since the release of TR 2011/D3 in July 2011, so there will be a bit of time spent on this area, as well as the ATO’s practice when a fund fails to pay a minimum payment in a particular year.

Contributions are always a hot topic, so I’ll also be outlining some new areas to watch in that space.

What can participants expect to take away from the day?

Some practical tips and traps for them to apply to their client bases with respect to pensions and contributions, as well as consideration of the opportunities available. We often concentrate on what the legislation says we can’t …

Inviting you to the 2013 Private Business Tax Retreat

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It is with great delight that we extend to you an invitation to participate in the 2013 Private Business Tax Retreat.

Building on the success of the Private Business Tax Retreat in recent years, we have once again put together a challenging, unique and interactive programme that gives direction, resolutions and outcomes to critical questions that are asked of private business tax advisors with a specific focus on CGT small business concessions.

On the first day of the Retreat, the programme will address the following key topics:

when your client sells assets from a trust – the key issues to raise with your client and what you need to be able to answer when your client sells the business – the key issues when signing off internally and how to direct your client what you need to know about contemporary issues impacting private business at the moment.
The day will conclude with a wrap-up, providing The Tax Institute’s view of critical private business tax issues.

On the final day of the r…

A fair share of company tax burden

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In the context of multinational taxation, the Federal Government’s phrase of choice seems to be: "fair share".

The Tax Institute welcomes the Government’s recognition of the need to update current international taxation laws in conjunction with our treaty and major trading partners. The integrity of the tax base is essential to making a lowering of the company tax rate possible.

An internationally co-ordinated effort to tackle tax avoidance and re-examine the relevance of existing source and residence doctrines is essential to ensure that Australia’s international tax and treaty network adequately addresses the challenges posed by the increasingly digital international economy and levies taxation on the economic substance of the transaction.

Nevertheless, consideration of the current activities of multinationals and any proposed changes to tax laws need to take into account the challenging and competitive circumstances faced by businesses operating in an international environ…