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Showing posts from May, 2013

Updates from the National Tax Liasion Group

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We continue to monitor and respond to changes to the Tax Agent Services Act 2009, in particular the registration and educational requirements for tax (financial product) advisers. We note that the standard is currently set for tax agents and wish to ensure that consumers continue to be afforded a high level of protection by ensuring that the educational and ethical standards are maintained.

I attended the National Tax Liaison Group (NTLG) meeting with the Commissioner of Taxation and his senior staff. The new Commissioner’s views, expressed at our National Convention, were again articulated in his address to the NTLG. Importantly, this included the ATO’s review of its external consulting arrangements. It was pleasing to see that the view I expressed, in a previous President’s Report, about consultation being a genuine two-way process, is included in the review, along with other concerns expressed by The Tax Institute. We look forward to being part of this review. We continue to have f…

Growing the recognition of CTA in Australia

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At our National Convention in March, I launched our plans to raise the profile of members and the Institute through the Chartered Tax Adviser (CTA) and our new “T is for Tax” campaign.

As you would know, CTA is Australia’s only internationally recognised tax designation. Earn it and you’re in a network of thousands of tax professionals worldwide, recognised for leadership and expertise. It means you’re the best of the best.

I want to let you know our plans so that, over the coming months and years, you will recognise our progress and perhaps help us along the way.

From May, you will begin to see the first wave of the “T is for Tax” campaign on online channels. From there, we plan to extend the campaign further.

You can watch the new CTA promotional video below and view examples of some of the planned advertisements on our website.

We have also developed some of these messages on posters which I encourage you to print and display in your office so that your clients can see what sets yo…

3 Duxes agree: CTA2 Advanced gives you CONFIDENCE

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We caught up with 3 duxes of our CTA2 Advanced course (previously known as the Certificate in Applied Tax) to understand how the course has helped them.

Tammy Tang (CTA2 Advanced course dux)

“The CTA2 Advanced course has given me the confidence to assist our clients on a broad range of Australian tax issues.

The CTA2 Advanced course convenor and the course tutors are very knowledgeable and were helpful in assisting me with difficulties I encountered during the course. Being able to obtain their insight on how the law applies in a practical situation is a valuable aspect of the course.”

Clinton Lindqvist (CTA2 Advanced course dux)

“The CTA2 Advanced course has helped me to be more structured in my approach to tax-related issues and, through the use of the research-based model, has given me the confidence to prepare advice in areas of taxation that I was not previously confident in.

I now apply it to every advice assignment I am involved in.”

Ryan Curry (CTA2 Advanced course dux)

The most …

Finally – a mature debate on GST

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The Federal Coalition’s proposed tax policy white paper marks the beginning of a mature political debate on the role of the GST in our tax system. The time for political scaremongering on the GST is over, with the sustainability of Australia’s tax base at stake.

We have long argued the need for a genuine public discussion on reforming Australia’s tax system, which must include the GST. As recent events have shown, our current tax base is dangerously exposed to changes in domestic and international economic circumstances. Australia’s tax base must be robust and capable of withstanding cyclical shifts.

Without reform, our tax system will not be able to provide sufficient revenue to meet the significant spending commitments of the coming years. Worse still, our current tax system continues to hamper economic growth, with State taxes such as stamp duties on homes and insurance duties amongst the most inefficient taxes in the country.

We know that 90% of the entire tax take in Australia is…

Parliament, the ATO and beyond...

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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 residen…

CTA: The global leaders in tax

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The Chartered Tax Adviser designation indicates you've reached the pinnacle of the tax profession. A respected mark of technical excellence and professional integrity, Australian tax professionals who attain the CTA designation are regarded for their leadership and expertise at home and abroad, providing global mobility.

Don't take our word for it, hear from some of our CTAs.



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.

It's time for a national conversation on tax reform

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The implications (both real and political) of the Federal Government’s 2013-14 Budget have been analysed and commented upon ad nauseum this week. But what does it mean for tax reform?

Unfortunately, the Budget is yet another wasted opportunity to embark on a long-term tax reform plan that is vital to ensure that the country is well positioned for the challenges of the decades ahead.

Instead, the Government has chosen the easy path of tax grabs from business to fund its excessive spending commitments. Efforts to protect the integrity of our tax system by closing loopholes are worthwhile, but the Budget measures ignore the long-term vision laid out in the Henry Tax Review.

In addition, the Budget adds significantly to the stock of announced but un-enacted tax measures. An outstanding agenda of more than 100 tax measures in an election year will heighten uncertainty for business in an already volatile environment.

Through The Tax Institute’s technical sub-committees we will be working th…

Tax reform: Short-term thinking, long-term pain

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Media Release: Tuesday 14 May 2013 (7.30pm AEST)

Tonight’s Federal Budget is yet another wasted opportunity to embark on a long-term tax reform plan that is vital to ensure that the country is well positioned for the challenges of the decades ahead, The Tax Institute said today.

“Short-term revenue considerations have resulted in the Government yet again choosing the easy path of tax grabs from business to fund excessive spending commitments”, Tax Institute President Steve Westaway said.

“While Government efforts to protect the integrity of our tax system by closing loopholes are worthwhile, the Budget measures virtually ignore the long-term vision laid out in the Henry Tax Review.

“Tonight’s measures lack any holistic tax reform plan to correct fundamental flaws and restore sustainability of tax revenues,” Mr Westaway said.

“The measures will add significantly to the stock of announced but as yet un-enacted measures. An outstanding agenda of more than 100 tax measures in an election …

2013-14 Federal Budget perspectives before lock-up

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This week brings the release of the Federal Budget. The Tax Institute's President, Steve Westaway CTA and Tax Counsel, Deepti Paton CTA will join me in the Budget “lock-up” starting tomorrow afternoon. This allows The Tax Institute access to all of the Budget papers and announcements ahead of their public release on Tuesday evening.

Members will receive our initial comments on the Budget and a summary of the tax measures by way a special Budget edition of TaxVine that will be sent shortly after the Treasurer delivers his Budget speech at 7.30pm.

With the surplus commitment long-gone and with the tax revenue shortfall ballooning at a rate of $50 million every day since the Mid-Year Economic and Fiscal Outlook in October 2012, the scene is set for an atypically tight election year Budget. The actual size of the deficit and the details of the tax changes that are being pursued in order to minimise its size will be revealed on Tuesday. This will then set the scene for the final 19 sit…

Enrolments now being taken for new Course in Commercial Law

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The Tax Practitioners Board approves the Institute’s Course in Commercial Law

We are proud to announce that the Tax Practitioners Board approved the Institute’s Course in Commercial Law on 4 April 2013.

Alongside our Course in Australian Taxation Law, the Institute not only provides an additional education pathway to tax agent registration, but a broader education offering to strengthen the skills of tax professionals.

Renew your 2013-14 membership online and win!

Membership renewals are now due. All online renewals made on or before 14 June 2013 will go into one of five draws to win $1,000 cash prizes in Day to Day accounts with HSBC Bank Australia.

Free TaxLine research service

TaxLine is a dedicated member research service, supported by our research librarian team. This complimentary service to members provides information on specific tax-related enquiries.

Key events in May

Several of our key events are taking place in May — register now to ensure that you don’t miss out securing a pla…

Update on cut to company tax rate

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There is a chorus of support in Australia for a cut to the company tax rate. It will deliver economy-wide benefits that are necessarily in the national interest. We saw this played out in last year’s Business Tax Working Group process headed by Chris Jordan.

This is why The Tax Institute continues to support reducing the company tax rate in the medium term from its current 30% to the 25% recommended by the Henry Review. In addition to increasing Australia’s attractiveness as a destination for foreign investment, a 25% rate is comparable to rates in similar sized OECD countries. Even a modest cut to say 28% would be a step in the right direction and Australians across the board stand to share in the benefits. Companies are able to pass on the benefits to their employees, either in the form of increased wages or additional recruitment, thereby increasing productivity and employment.

It is in this context that it is worth noting that the Federal Coalition proposes to increase the company…