Tuesday, 30 July 2013

Voices from history: Commissioner Chris Jordan, AO

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

Commissioner Chris Jordan, AO
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 as it was 30 years ago – if not more so. It has been able to stay vibrant and be part of the tax debate and The Tax Institute is still the preeminent body in terms of tax.

I think my appointment is an opportunity for everyone – for the ATO and you in the profession – to stand back and think about how we can make our tax system better. How we can represent our clients in the best possible way to recognise that there will always be some issues with the ATO, and help us resolve the issues for clients, for the betterment of the tax system in the long run.”

“What’s been really pleasing is to see The Tax Institute maintain relevance ... It has been able to stay vibrant, and be part of the tax debate and ... is still the preeminent body.”

70 years supporting the tax profession
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.

Monday, 29 July 2013

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

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 Shadow Education Minister, Christopher Pyne, where we discussed the adverse impact of the changes on legitimate claims for self-education expenses. In a positive development, Mr Pyne has issued the first public statement from the Opposition that argues against the Government's measure and calls on them to remove it.

We will continue to argue against the measure, as it is a blunt instrument that will provide a financial penalty to those seeking to self-fund their education. How is this consistent with the objective of building a smarter Australia?

Election Debate on tax policy

On Wednesday 24 July, The Tax Institute was proud to host the first debate of the 2013 Federal Election season focussed on tax policy. Assistant Treasurer, The Hon. David Bradbury MP, went head to head with Shadow Assistant Treasurer, Senator Mathias Cormann, to answer tax policy questions in relation to:
  • large business and multinationals
  • state taxes and consumption taxes
  • small business and personal taxation
  • superannuation
  • tax system governance.
Discussions at the debate were wide ranging and at times, heated, and included a focus on taxation of multinationals and GST reform.

Our facilitator, Kellie Connolly, called the debate a draw and it was clear to all present and tuning in via the live web-stream that our tax system faces immense challenges over the coming years, including complex tax laws, high reliance on corporate and income taxes and unprecedented international tax challenges.

We are proud to have facilitated tax policy and administration being at the forefront of the political discussion. In that spirit we have called on both major parties to commit to undertaking the bold tax reforms necessary and release detailed tax policies. We look forward to continuing to advocate for tax reform with our political leaders in the coming months.

Our media release issued following the debate and see below for details of the extensive media coverage of the event.

If you missed the debate and would like to catch-up, you can access it through our video on demand section.

FBT statutory formula method

This week I also met with the Leader of the Opposition, The Hon Tony Abbott MP; Shadow Treasurer, the Hon Joe Hockey MP; Shadow Finance Minister, the Hon Andrew Robb MP; and Shadow Industry Minister, Mrs Sophie Mirabella MP. This was part of a broader meeting with the motor vehicle industry and advisers to discuss the effects of the Government's decision to scrap the statutory formula method of calculating car fringe benefits tax liabilities.

The Opposition has committed to scrap this measure should it win office.

Robert Jeremenko
Robert
Jeremenko
Robert Jeremenko CTA is Senior Tax Counsel of 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.

Friday, 26 July 2013

The ATO’s Consultation Arrangements

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, in comparison to the current consultation model.

However, we are also aware that many of the necessary implementation details are not included in the consultation framework as presented. We are currently working with the ATO to address further development and implementation considerations. These include the best manner in which the professional associations can assist the ATO in the agency’s pursuit of these objectives. We are also discussing the ongoing role that the professional associations can and should play in relation to the hub, as well as some aspects of the hub’s design that would be of benefit to the new consultation framework.

Our CEO Noel Rowland continues his visits to each state to continue discussions around our strategy and member engagement. This has provided fantastic input to assist our leadership group, develop strategy and for the Institute to remain relevant to our members. Keep the input coming.

Trust reform continues to challenge all involved, given the current government priorities. It is hoped that government will not lose sight of what was intended by this process. The aim was to simplify and provide clarity to the 700,000 plus trusts that operate in Australia. It was not to add additional anti-avoidance clauses to the legislation or complicate trust administration. It had a name of bringing together trust law concepts and trust tax law concepts to simplify administration for all who use them.

The financial year is upon us all. I hope that the next financial year is prosperous for you all. One thing for certain is that it will bring change.

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.

Thursday, 25 July 2013

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

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.




70 years supporting the tax profession
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.

Wednesday, 24 July 2013

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

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, and also looks at:


Australian Tax Forum
Australian Tax Forum is a prestigious quarterly journal with the objective of providing discussion on issues in tax policy, law and reform amongst tax professionals. It is an essential reference source for understanding and contributing to the development of taxation systems worldwide. Aimed at those who want to influence the future development of tax policy, Australian Tax Forum is an important journal for tax policy makers, academics and libraries.

Tuesday, 23 July 2013

Voices from history: Bruce Pascoe

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

Bruce Pascoe, Institute president 1976-78
Bruce Pascoe
“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 but the ATO had to collect them in time to assess and collect the tax by the following 30 June. At one of our annual meetings with the Commissioner, then Sir Edward Cain, I acknowledged that it was somewhat a case of irresistible force against an immovable object. I suggested that we should concentrate on matters which could allow both to be more efficient.

One suggestion was to establish a working committee to meet with the second Commissioner, then Pat Lanigan, on a regular basis to deal with many administrative areas which could change for the benefit of both sides. This proposal was adopted and we commenced regular meetings including sub-committee meetings on matters such as the new and growing computer systems for returns. I have no doubt that this developed in the NTLG which has been a significant factor in policy.

Developing status and recognition

I enjoyed my long and close involvement with the Institute, including my two years as president and the years on National Council, and acknowledge that the Institute has been good for me, particularly in elevating my profile through that involvement and the presentation of many papers at various state and national conventions.”

70 years supporting the tax profession
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.

Monday, 22 July 2013

News on federal and state tax reform

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 Parliamentary Economic & Finance Committee who are conducting the review, on Friday 12 July, we were invited to appear before the Committee to give evidence about opportunities for reform and improvement. Our President, Steve Westaway CTA, together with Paul Ingram CTA and Tax Counsel Stephanie Caredes CTA gave evidence to the Committee.

Tax reform is a very difficult task, particularly for a State Government attempting to do so on their own. However, the States should not be left to their own devices to undertake tax reform; it is the responsibility of all levels of Government to address the inefficiencies in our tax system, even if it involves removing inefficient State taxes such as stamp duties and looking to explore more efficient taxes such as land tax. It's about finding and creating sustainable revenue streams for all levels of government. We eagerly await the outcome of the review.

Self-education expenses cap

This week we lodged a submission to Treasury together with the Law Council of Australia on the proposed self-education expenses cap. We strongly argue that the Government will realise that the use of such a blunt, pervasive instrument is a disproportionate response to their perceived concerns with the current deduction for self-education expenses.

Robert Jeremenko
Robert
Jeremenko
Robert Jeremenko CTA is Senior Tax Counsel of 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.

Friday, 19 July 2013

Tax Institute CEO reflects on 70 years of Institute history

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 from around the country recently participated in a day of activities in Sydney to celebrate the 70th anniversary. Check out the Institute’s Facebook page for photos and updates from the event.

Membership renewals

Membership renewal notices have recently been sent out and renewals are coming in fast and strong. Thank you to all who have already renewed — we are looking forward to continuing our association with you.

If you haven’t renewed yet, please make sure you do so as soon as possible to ensure continuity of your membership. Once renewed, and as an ongoing member of The Tax Institute, we ask that you continue to use the membership card, certificate and decal you received last year. You can renew your membership online.

Thank you for continuing to support your Institute.

Noel Rowland
Noel
Rowland
Noel Rowland is Chief Executive Officer of 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.

Thursday, 18 July 2013

The Perth platinum jubilee

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














70 years supporting the tax profession
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.

Tuesday, 16 July 2013

Celebrating 70 years of supporting the tax profession

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 registered with it to protect the tax-paying public and to ensure that they were maintaining high standards of practice.

Since then, Australia’s tax system has continued to become more complex. The Institute, well-known for being dynamic and responsive, evolved to meet the growing needs of the profession.

It is testament to the original committee’s progressiveness that, 70 years on, the Institute’s founding objectives remain more relevant than ever. They include:

  • protecting the interests of practitioners;
  • distributing information relevant to taxation law and practice and department procedure that is of particular interest to tax agents; and
  • encouraging and maintaining a high ethical standard among registered tax agents.

Today, the Institute is Australia’s leading educator and professional association in tax, and remains an authoritative voice in supporting a fair and equitable tax system. The Institute provides a full suite of education and information products that keeps today’s tax professional up to date and builds the capacity of the next generation of tax professionals.

Join us this year as the Institute reaches this significant milestone – visit taxinstitute.com.au/70 to find out more about how you can celebrate with us.

70 years supporting the tax profession
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.

Monday, 15 July 2013

Financial Advisers and tax advice – things are getting clearer

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 experience to perform the function for which they are registered; in this case, the giving of ‘tax (financial) advice’ as defined in the new law.

We are concerned that the education standards and experience requirements are set quite low. This may put at risk consumer protection. It is preferable if the entry requirements to registration are shored up to ensure that the bulk of registrants will have the requisite qualifications to provide tax advice to a competent standard.  This will provide consumers with comfort that registered ‘tax (financial) advisers’ have the required skill set to provide them with the advice they need in the majority of cases.

Accordingly, we recommend the Government consider conducting a post-implementation review of these requirements 12 months after their commencement with a particular focus on the quality of advice being provided to ensure the appropriate level of consumer protection is being met.

Self-education expenses cap

We are also continuing our strong advocacy against the Government’s decision to cap self-education expense deductions at $2,000 per year. We are currently finalising our submission to Treasury and yesterday we issued a media release decrying the changes. We also wrote an opinion piece that has been published on AFR.com: ‘Tax hike on learning earns Government the dunce’s cap’.

Robert Jeremenko
Robert
Jeremenko
Robert Jeremenko CTA is Senior Tax Counsel of 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.

Friday, 12 July 2013

A new Prime Minister…and a new Treasurer

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 we hope will stand him in good stead to get on with the job of much needed reforms to our tax system.

We look forward to continuing our open and constructive working relationship with the Treasurer’s office.

We have seen a number of tax Bills passed into law, including an important one that subjects financial advisers to the tax agent services regime. I appeared, together with our tax counsel team, before a Parliamentary Committee inquiry into these measures and it was pleasing to have the Committee agree with our position and recommend that financial advisers be brought into the regime (see the Senior Tax Counsel’s Report in this issue of the journal). We continue to put submissions into various government bodies on a variety of tax issues. The work rate and time frames remain extremely tight.

Thank you to all for making time available to assist in the submissions.

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.

Thursday, 11 July 2013

Top ten SMSF tips and traps – download our free PDF

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 issues
  • employment termination payments
  • CGT small business concessions 
  • binding death benefit nominations
  • and much more.

Download the tips and traps [PDF], and purchase your copy of the SMSF Guide, 5th Edition from our website today.

SMSF Guide, 5th Edition
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.

Monday, 8 July 2013

Self-education expenses a cause for concern

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 disincentive. The objective of building a smarter Australia will be compromised through the introduction of the proposed cap.

This week The Tax Institute, in conjunction with the Business Law Section of the Law Council of Australia, wrote to the Prime Minister, the Hon Kevin Rudd MP to express our concerns. This is further to our letter to the then Treasurer in May. We have also raised our concerns with the Opposition, who are yet to advise of their position on the measure.

The imposition of a cap on self-education expense deductions is a very blunt instrument to achieve the object of preventing extravagant claims. The proposed measure would capture and limit all claims for self-education expenses, regardless of their nature.

Robert Jeremenko
Robert
Jeremenko
Robert Jeremenko CTA is Senior Tax Counsel of 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.

Friday, 5 July 2013

Announcing eBook editions

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 takes place in Sydney in August.

Our iCPD series of webinars continues to go from strength to strength, with regular tax updates held online each month, in addition to a program of pop-up hot topic events.

For a full list of upcoming CPD events, visit our website.

CommLaw3 – Property Law

The Tax Institute’s TPB-approved Course in Commercial Law has been developed to meet the minimum requirements for registering as a tax agent and to strengthen the delivery of all tax agents’ responsibilities.

CommLaw3 – Property Law, delivered through flexible distance study, commences on 20 August 2013.

Study period 2 for CTA

Program starting soon The Chartered Tax Adviser Program courses (CTA1 Foundations, CTA2 Advanced, and CTA3 Advisory Exam) build on each other to produce tax advisers with the professional tax and acute commercial skills that they need to provide quality advice and to join our growing international network of Chartered Tax Advisers.

All courses commence study in July and August.

Noel Rowland
Noel
Rowland
Noel Rowland is Chief Executive Officer of 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.

Wednesday, 3 July 2013

June’s free member tax presentations

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.


Tax Knowledge eXchange
The Tax Institute runs over 300 CPD seminars a year, and all papers and PowerPoint presentations provided by the speakers from our seminars are available through the website individually or through a Tax Knowledge eXchange subscription.

Monday, 1 July 2013

ATO consultation practices

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. 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, in comparison to the current consultation model.

However, we are also aware that many of the necessary implementation details are not included in the consultation framework as presented. We are currently working with the ATO to address further development and implementation considerations. These include the best manner in which the professional associations can assist the ATO in the agency’s pursuit of these objectives. We are also discussing the ongoing role that the professional associations can and should play in relation to the hub, as well as some aspects of the hub’s design that would be of benefit to the new consultation framework.

Our internal technical sub-committees are an integral part of The Tax Institute’s policy, advocacy and consultation activities. The ATO changes will not result in immediate changes to our sub committees, but they will play a part in our decisions on the composition, role and function of our sub-committees over the coming months.

As always, I welcome your input in relation to how The Tax Institute can best take member suggestions, concerns and priorities into account and harness the expertise of our members in undertaking our advocacy and consultation activities.

Ministerial changes

And of course, after the tumultuous political events of this week, Australia has a new Treasurer. The Hon Chris Bowen MP has been appointed to replace Wayne Swan, who resigned his Ministry after the change of Labor leadership.

Chris Bowen brings with him 18 months worth of experience as an Assistant Treasurer, which we hope will stand him in good stead to get on with the job of much needed reforms to our tax system. These include trust tax reforms and clearing the backlog of more than 100 outstanding tax measures that are yet to be legislated.

We look forward to continuing our open and constructive working relationship with the Treasurer’s office.

Robert Jeremenko
Robert
Jeremenko
Robert Jeremenko CTA is Senior Tax Counsel of 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.