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Showing posts from July, 2013

Voices from history: Commissioner Chris Jordan, AO

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Over the years, The Tax Institute and its members have played a pivotal role in shaping tax policy and the tax profession at large. Each month, we will be sharing some of these stories of advocacy and networks from the Institute’s history with you.

Commissioner Chris Jordan, AO

“I’ve been a member of The Tax Institute for just on 30 years … I loved going along to a number of the functions, some of the retreats, meeting up with people every year and having dinners and chats about what’s going on – not only in our professional lives but also in our personal lives – and we got to know each other really well … there were people who would turn up year in, year out to these functions.

The year as state chairman was a highlight. I really enjoyed the ability to set some directions and be a spokesperson on national council. I was very honoured to be able to represent The Tax Institute.

What’s been really pleasing is to see The Tax Institute maintain relevance. The Institute is as relevant today…

Self-education expenses cap, election debate and Car FBT updates

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Self-education expenses cap

Members will be aware of The Tax Institute's sustained advocacy against the Government's plans to cap self-education expense deductions at $2,000. Soon after the announcement in April this year we joined with the Law Council and expressed our strong concerns about this measure to the then Treasurer and Shadow Treasurer.

In addition to briefing other key stakeholders on the negative consequences of the measure, we then wrote to Prime Minister Rudd and new Treasurer Bowen. We have also written an opinion piece (and media release) on the issue: "Tax hike on learning earns Government the dunce's cap", which was published in the Financial Review, and we have co-authored a letter to the editor also published in the Financial Review. Last week we submitted to Treasury our formal position and arguments against the changes.

This week's update is that I joined with a selection of members of the #scrapthecap alliance in a meeting with the Sha…

The ATO’s Consultation Arrangements

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As some members may be aware, the Commissioner of Taxation made a number of announcements in relation to the ATO’s consultation arrangements at the recent National Tax Liaison Group meeting.

The Tax Institute is aware of the need for effective consultation to ensure the best outcome in tax law design, implementation and interpretation.

As both the ATO and many members expend significant resources in consultation, the ATO’s efforts to target those resources to maximise benefit from our mutual investment are welcome.

We are broadly supportive of the objectives of and principles underpinning this proposed framework. Furthermore, we broadly agree that both the ATO and external participants stand to benefit from the potential synergies in a central consultation model or “hub”. We also foresee that this model has the potential to increase the effectiveness of consultation and may be better suited to ensuring that the ATO consults on the right issues with the right people at the right time, i…

A look back at 70 years of knowledge, advocacy and networks [Video]

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In 2013, The Tax Institute celebrates 70 years of supporting the tax profession. Hear from prominent members about our journey to becoming Australia's leading professional association in tax.




In 2013, The Tax Institute is celebrating 70 years of supporting the tax profession.

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.

Historical perspectives on the emergence of the tax profession – download our free PDF

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In this article [PDF], taken from Australian Tax Forum, Jane Frecknall-Hughes, Professor of Law at The Open University Law School in the UK, and Margaret McKerchar, Professor of Taxation at UNSW in Sydney, contrast the emergence of the tax profession in Australia and the UK.

In both jurisdictions the tax profession is diverse in its membership though its origin appears to have been historically driven by the accountancy profession. Based on archival research, this article considers the context of the development of the UK Chartered Institute of Taxation (CIOT) and The Tax Institute (TTI) in Australia and traces their history and relationship from inception to date.

The article provides insights into the emergence of the tax profession and assesses the contribution of the CIOT and TI in advancing the tax profession and influencing tax policy in both the UK and Australia.

Download the free article [PDF], and the second issue of Australian Tax Forum for 2013 is out now in print and online…

Voices from history: Bruce Pascoe

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Over the years, The Tax Institute and its members have played a pivotal role in shaping tax policy and the tax profession at large. Each month, we will be sharing some of these stories of advocacy and networks from the Institute’s history with you.

Bruce Pascoe, Institute president 1976-78

“I was involved in the Institute for a very long time, and saw significant changes in its direction and profile. I was first aware of the Institute in those early days when Harold Irving established it as The Institute of Registered Tax Agents to provide a body for the many tax agents who had no other qualification.

Much of my earlier involvement was with an aim to change the Institute from an association representing tax agents to a professional body of accountants and lawyers experienced and involved in taxation.

Effecting change

In the mid to late 70s, the bulk of tax returns were paper returns and were manually assessed. Tax agents were always looking for longer extensions of time to lodge returns…

News on federal and state tax reform

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Tax reform

Federal

The Government's decision to scrap the statutory formula method of calculating car fringe benefits tax liabilities will reap $1.8 billion, which will partly fund removing the fixed carbon price a year earlier than planned.

Once again, we have seen a Government spending announcement accompanied by a tax policy change made solely to help pay for it.

If this is what we have to look forward to in the lead up to the federal election, then we can kiss goodbye to any prospect of sensible tax policy decision making for the foreseeable future.

Please refer to my opinion article on this in the Financial Review of 18 July.

State

In the State arena, and following on from the lead taken by the ACT Government to conduct its own internal tax review, South Australia has embarked on its own Inquiry into its tax system. As thought leaders in this area, The Tax Institute took the opportunity to become actively involved. After lodging a submission to the South Australian Parliamentar…

Tax Institute CEO reflects on 70 years of Institute history

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Join us as we celebrate 70 years of supporting the tax profession

You may have heard that this year the Institute is turning 70 — our platinum jubilee year. We are immensely proud and excited to have reached this significant milestone, and acknowledge that we couldn't have done it without you — our members.

To thank you for your support over the years, each member will receive a $70 voucher to be spent on Institute events or products on renewal of their 2013-14 membership. You’ll also find enclosed with this journal a commemorative bookmark. Platinum jubilee events will be held as part of each state convention — contact your state office to find out more.

The first event was held at the National Convention in Perth earlier this year, and you can read all about the anniversary in this month's journal and see photos from the event on our Facebook page.

Watch our 70th anniversary video and read more stories on our website.

Institute staff celebrate 70 years

Tax Institute staff fro…

The Perth platinum jubilee

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Hundreds of tax professionals joined the The Tax Institute at the National Convention in Perth earlier this year to celebrate this significant milestone.














In 2013, The Tax Institute is celebrating 70 years of supporting the tax profession.

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.

Celebrating 70 years of supporting the tax profession

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Seventy years ago, Australia, a newly independent nation state, was at war.

The 1940s saw intense bombing raids on Darwin, and submarine attacks on Sydney and Newcastle. Thanks to new taxes and procedures necessitated by the war, there was a considerable growth in tax revenue. In 1942, uniform tax legislation was introduced and the Commonwealth assumed responsibility for levying income tax.

The following year, a Sydney accountant named Harold Irving decided that it was time to try to improve the position of tax agents, tax law and its administration. Against this backdrop, The Tax Institute was founded.

As Australia’s tax landscape became more complex, Irving was concerned with the dissemination of information surrounding taxation to registered tax agents. He selected a provisional committee of colleagues, and the first meeting of what became The Tax Institute was held on 16 July 1943.

Later that year, the Commonwealth Tax Agents Board was created, and tax agents were required to be r…

Financial Advisers and tax advice – things are getting clearer

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Financial advisers and tax advice

With the law now in place to ensure financial advisers are subject to the Tax Agent Services Act, this week, The Tax Institute continued our strong advocacy to ensure that financial advisers have sufficient experience and educational qualifications in tax such that the true intent of the law is fully realised.

We have just lodged a submission to the Treasury on these matters.

In the interests of ensuring a professional and ethical framework is laid out for those financial advisers who wish to register as ‘tax (financial) advisers’ under the new law, they must meet extensive educational qualifications and sufficient relevant experience. We are broadly of the view that the more education and experience that will be required of someone who wishes to register under the Tax Agent Services Act, the better for both the protection of consumers of tax advice and the integrity of the profession.

A financial adviser must have the appropriate skills and experienc…

A new Prime Minister…and a new Treasurer

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The halfway mark!

I have reached the mid-point in my presidential term at The Tax Institute, and I'm look forward to the hard slog over the six months to come.

A president’s term is only 12 months, but my predecessors have told me it’s like running a marathon. It’s all in the second half and gets harder towards the end. Well, the second half is about to start and the first has been frantic. What’s the message? I must admit that the issues are broad and challenging, but I work with good people and am enjoying my term as president.

Your Institute has been flat out to deliver to you, and represent you in, all matters tax. As you all know, it’s hard out there and every little bit makes a difference. Your team at The Tax Institute continues to innovate and deliver in accordance with our brand promise.

Since last month, a lot has happened. We have a new Prime Minister and a new Treasurer in Chris Bowen. The Treasurer brings with him 18 months’ experience as an Assistant Treasurer, which…

Top ten SMSF tips and traps – download our free PDF

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Download a copy of the top tips and traps for advisers [PDF] taken from the 2013’s new SMSF Guide, 5th Edition.

These tips and traps cover:

contribution issuesemployment termination paymentsCGT small business concessions binding death benefit nominationsand much more.
Download the tips and traps [PDF], and purchase your copy of the SMSF Guide, 5th Edition from our website today.

Jemma Sanderson, CTA, is the author of the SMSF Guide, 5th Edition and Principal / Representative with Cooper Partners Financial Services.

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.

Self-education expenses a cause for concern

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The Government’s short-sighted decision to announce that from 1 July 2014 an individual’s self-education expense deductions will be capped at $2,000 per year is still causing great concern in the community.

The Tax Institute is strongly arguing the case for change to the announced measure as a result of our deep concerns. We are urging the Government to reconsider the measure such that it does not adversely impact on legitimate claims for self-education expenses.

The imposition of a cap might well prevent large deductions from being claimed, but in doing so, it would also penalise people who are endeavouring to improve their qualifications for work or business who are not incurring unnecessarily excessive costs. Accordingly, many legitimate claimants would suffer higher out-of pocket expenses as a result of this measure.

An educated workforce should be one of the key objectives of Government. Providing a financial penalty to those seeking to self-fund their education is a significant d…

Announcing eBook editions

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With more and more of our members using tablets and eReaders, we’re pleased to announce the launch of our new eBook editions. Our new eBooks are compatible with iPad, Kindle and most other similar devices.

SMSF Guide and Discretionary Trust Distributions are the first titles to launch in eBook format. As other new editions of our books launch in 2013, we’ll also be making eBook editions available.

Election debate

On Wednesday, 24 July, see Assistant Treasurer, the Hon. David Bradbury, MP, go head-to-head with Shadow Assistant Treasurer, Senator Mathias Cormann, to answer your tax policy questions.

Don’t miss this opportunity to put your questions to and hear directly from the decision-makers themselves.

Upcoming CPD events

As always, the Institute has an exciting schedule of professional development events planned for the second half of the year. The 13th Annual State’s Taxation Conference will be held in Adelaide later this month, and the inaugural National Superannuation Conference ta…

June’s free member tax presentations

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Here’s a selection of presentations from our leading events series.

Members of The Tax Institute can access these presentations for free by clicking the links below (make sure you’re logged in to our website first). Non-members can purchase the presentations for only $12 each.

Many presentations have a related technical paper, which can also be found on the presentation’s page.

Transfer pricing legislation reform - Tranche 2: What does it mean for taxpayers (Paul Balkus and Jesper Solgaard)An update on capital management issues including debt/equity: recent developments (Simon Jenner, CTA)Securitisation vehicles and limited recourse debt amendments (Mark Hadassin and Greig Hubbard)Part IVA technical discussion (Ben Wilson, CTA)The evolving compliance obligation (Judy Morris, CTA and David Drummond, CTA)Paying dividends: The new landscape interaction between s.245T and the income tax provisions (James Pettigrew, ATI)SMSF borrowing - what now? (Neil Oakes, CTA)What happens when it all go…

ATO consultation practices

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ATO consultation practices

As some members may be aware, the Commissioner of Taxation made a number of announcements in relation to the ATO’s consultation arrangements at the recent National Tax Liaison Group meeting of 13 June 2013. An overview of the ATO’s revised consultation framework can be accessed.

The Tax Institute is aware of the need for effective consultation in ensuring the best outcome in tax law design, implementation and interpretation.

As both the ATO and many members expend significant resources in consultation, the ATO’s efforts to target those resources to maximise benefit from our mutual investment are welcome.

The Tax Institute’s members have a long history of engaging in consultation to develop and apply tax laws in the national interest. Our consultation efforts have spanned across technical issues, industry focussed issues and ATO systems-related issues.

We are broadly supportive of the objectives of and principles underpinning this proposed framework. Furthermor…