Monday, 30 September 2013

Briefing the new Government on tax

The Tax Institute has been actively engaging with the new Federal Government and the key portfolio Departments.

We have met privately with the Tax Commissioner, Chris Jordan AO, to discuss a range of key matters of interest to members, including the ATO consultative model and the Commissioner's engagement plan with the new Government.

We have also has discussions with senior Treasury officials about the outstanding tax legislative agenda and key reform priorities. This included a training session for Treasury run by Tax Institute President, Steve Westaway CTA, on small business structuring.

Finally, we have been liaising with the offices of Treasurer Hockey and Assistant Treasurer Sinodinos, to ensure that they are fully briefed on the key tax issues being faced by the profession as well as on the key areas of reform needed to continually improve our tax system.

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, 27 September 2013

Reflecting on the WA Convention Keynote

At the WA convention, I spoke again on the pressing need for tax reform. Our keynote speaker at the convention, the Hon. Christian Porter, MLA (former Western Australia State Treasurer), reinforced this theme. Christian spoke at length about the constant pressure on government to deliver community services, resulting in increased recurrent expenditure and consequently greater pressure on government revenue collection.

Christian noted that recurrent government expenditure has to be reduced or controlled and redirected to investment that will support economic growth, specifically infrastructure and capital developments.

This is a difficult task at all levels of government.

Importantly, Christian acknowledged the role that The Tax Institute plays in educating practitioners and also noted the huge resource of talent that our membership has and suggested that we should be more active in encouraging the necessary discussion and analysis on tax reform via our conventions and journals. Keith James, Deputy Chair of the Board of Taxation, also made comments along these lines.

No matter which party leads our next parliament, tax reform needs to be on the agenda. We must engage in a national discussion about all of our current taxes and levies in order to resolve the “what, when and how” of building an efficient tax system that will lead to productivity gains in our economy. Such a process should cover not only who pays the tax, but also our social responsibility to be equitable to all, and recognise individuals’ special circumstances and capacity to earn.

Christian’s reminder is timely. I will pursue the inclusion of tax reform as a standard issue for our conventions with National Council. As practitioners, we get heavily involved being “on the tools” so to speak and need to be brought back up to a strategic and community level in our thinking. We as individuals and as the leading professional association in tax have a lot to offer in this debate.

On a different matter, I attended the Board of Taxation consultation forum in Melbourne and was asked to remind members of the Tax Issues Entry System (TIES). This system is designed for taxpayers to raise issues concerning the care and maintenance of the tax and superannuation system. Such issues include minor policy issues or drafting defects in the existing legislation. Both Treasury and the ATO manage the system. Members are encouraged to raise issues.

The Tax Institute is happy to assist in processing your concerns through TIES or appropriate consultation forums. Please contact the Institute and you will be connected to our tax advocacy and policy area. If you wish to learn more about TIES, you can visit www.ties.gov.au.

Till next time...

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.

Wednesday, 25 September 2013

Voices from history: Gordon Cooper AM, FTI (Life), CTA

Gordon Cooper AM, FTI (Life), CTA
How long have you been a member?

Since 1976, so 37 years.

What years were you president?

1999 - 2000

What were some of the highlights of your time as President?

The Millennium bug proving to be a damp squib!

Reporting a profit of nearly $525,000 from gross income of about $5m. I wish I could claim credit for it, but it was due to the introduction of GST and the two tranches of reforms announced by the Government in response to the Ralph Review which fuelled an unprecedented demand for CPE.

Like all Presidents, attending the National and State Conventions which provided the opportunity to meet a cross section of members.

There were two particularly memorable events, both of which took place in Tasmania.

At the National Convention the theme was the Tax Wilderness and the opening took place in a suitably decorated old Hobart Town Hall. It had been intended that I would arrive at the stage by flying fox from the gallery at the back of the hall. Unfortunately the drop was too shallow and so I was told that I would abseil from the walkway under the roof down to the stage. My acrophobia was brushed aside. I did as I was told. Then I introduced our opening speaker the then Commissioner of Taxation, Michael Carmody. He began by saying that he had not expected me to enter though a tax loophole and during the course of his speech pointed out some of the absurdities of exempting food from the proposed GST. A brave call which unfortunately was ignored.

At the State Convention in Swansea I became part of the after dinner entertainment when the drag artist dressed as Queen Elizabeth called me onto the stage and after much humour at my expense, knighted me. When my term as President ended I was presented with a montage of photographs of the occasion.

How did The Tax Institute help to shape the industry and the profession during that time?

We took the first steps towards introducing structured education. This included forming an examinations committee chaired by the late Graham Hill with Professor Graeme Cooper, Professor Glen Barton and immediate past President Ken Spence as members. Last year this initial step resulted in us being licensed by the Chartered Institute of Taxation to use the CTA designation.

We were involved in the revived consultation on a new regime for Tax Agents. However as this was a process that we began in 1992 and ultimately led to the Tax Agent Services Act 2009 this was but one year on a seventeen year journey.

Any key policies influenced?

In December 1998 the A New Tax System (Goods and Services Tax) Bill 1998 was introduced and passed in June 1999. I wonder when it will be renamed The Not So New GST Act? There was no consultation prior to its introduction. It appeared to embrace many of the worst features of existing GST and VAT regimes in other countries and added some unique Australian horrors. Over 1,000 amendments were made. The Institute was acknowledged in Parliament as having been a significant contributor to the changes.

The Ralph Review of Business Tax released its report, A Tax System Redesigned. The Tax Institute had been represented at 98% of the focus group meetings and Ken Spence and I participated in confidential consultations with key members of the Review team.

Ken Spence played a key role in shaping the consolidations regime.

I recall giving a number of papers on two of the Ralph Review recommendations. These were the Entity Tax Regime and Option 2, the cash flow or tax value method. Neither of these proposals were adopted. Given the on-going issues with the taxation of trusts perhaps it is a pity that the Entity Tax proposal did not go ahead. With the benefit of hindsight it was the profits first rule with which it was coupled that was the cause of much of the negative reaction.

One change which flowed from the Ralph Review was the introduction of a more formal system of consultation on legislative changes. Something which now is taken for granted.

Other tax changes flowing from the Ralph Review were the Alienation of Personal Services Income regime, the non-commercial loss provisions, the CGT discount, the CGT small business concessions and deductions for black hole expenditure. We were active in the consultations on these and other measures.

The proposal to tax fringe benefits to employees under the PAYE system received short shrift from the Government. A response that has been repeated since by Government.

Interestingly there was a recommendation that for Part IVA the counterfactual should reflect the commercial substance of the arrangement. A concept that now finds form in the Tax Laws Amendment (Countering Tax Avoidance and Multinational Profit Shifting) Bill 2013.

Despite these actual and rejected significant tax reforms, the hot topic during my year as President was Ultimate Beneficiary Statements. These were imposed under a draconian series of provisions.  Following submissions from the Institute the regime was relaxed. Anecdotally the statements ended up in storage in Albury and never were looked at by the ATO.

Do you have a message for the Institute and its members for the 70th anniversary?

The introduction of the CTA, and the structured education on which it is based, means that we can become recognised as a genuine profession.

One of the joys of the Institute has been the collegiality, the friendships made and the willingness of members to put in so much through the preparation and presentation of papers. Whilst it may have been necessary for the Institute to become more commercial in its approach I hope it never loses sight of the fact, and importance, of it being a member organisation.

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, 23 September 2013

Abbott Government Treasury announcement

With this week's swearing-in of the new Abbott Ministry, the new Government's Treasury portfolio consists of: the Hon Joe Hockey MP as Treasurer, Senator the Hon Arthur Sinodinos AO as Assistant Treasurer, the Hon Steven Ciobo MP as Parliamentary Secretary to the Treasurer and the Hon Bruce Billson MP as Minister for Small Business. The Opposition is expected to appoint the Hon Chris Bowen MP as Shadow Treasurer, but confirmation of this and other shadow portfolios will not be known until after the Labor Party elects an Opposition Leader in October.

In particular, the appointment of Senator the Hon Arthur Sinodinos AO as Assistant Treasurer is a welcome move. The Senator's long-standing interest in policy development provides him a strong platform from which to tackle the multiple tax policy challenges that lie ahead, including the much needed tax reform white paper. We look forward to the Minister's commitment to a meaningful and mature debate on tax reform, including providing greater clarity in relation to the more than 100 announced tax law measures that are yet to be legislated.

All Ministers are now poring over their departmental briefings from the Treasury, ATO and other relevant agencies ahead of the resumption of Parliament, which is expected in late October.

The Tax Institute's engagement with the Government on the key issues of concern to members has recommenced and we very much look forward to further building our relationships with the new Ministerial and Shadow Ministerial representatives.

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, 20 September 2013

Introducing the free membership trial

New editions publishing in September

With the new 6th edition of Estate & Business Succession Planning coming off the presses, our team is gearing up to publish the 7th edition of the Division 7A Handbook in coming weeks. Both are available in print, online and eBook formats. Our final book for 2013, the brand new The Tax Adviser’s Guide to Part IVA, is due later in the year, so keep an eye out for more information.

Don’t forget, a Tax Knowledge eXchange subscription with our online books option gives you full access to these and four other practical guides and handbooks online, along with over 65,000 documents and up to 17 CPD hours.

Do you know one person who could become a member?

We want to increase the recognition of your “mark of expertise” as a member of The Tax Institute with clients and the public. To achieve this we must continue to grow.

There are now two services available to help you to encourage your colleagues.

The 15 by 15 project

If every member invites at least one colleague into The Tax Institute, we can achieve this in no time. All you need to do is take two minutes to complete the online form on our website and nominate a colleague you know who is not a member but ought to be.

Free membership trial

Alternatively, let your colleagues know about the free membership trial running during October. If they sign up for the free trial, during October, they will get to experience a limited selection of the benefits and resources that members get daily access to.

Final Course in Commercial Law study period closing soon

Study Period 3 is the final opportunity to start or finish the Course in Commercial Law qualification in 2013, and both the CTA1 Foundations and CTA2 Advanced courses are now open for early bird enrolments.

CTA2 Advanced is available for candidates through distance study, while CTA1 Foundations candidates still have the option to study via face-to-face or distance delivery.

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, 19 September 2013

Proud to launch the Tax Adviser of the Year Awards 2014

Recognising the tax profession’s highest achievers

The Tax Institute is proud to introduce the inaugural Tax Adviser of the Year Awards to recognise the profession’s highest achievers.

Representing the pinnacle achievement for the best tax practitioners, from rising stars to industry leaders, the awards will identify and recognise those individuals who are making their mark in the industry and reward them with a valuable opportunity to highlight their excellence in tax.

When entries open on 1 October 2013, you will be able to nominate yourself, a colleague or industry peer, in one of the three categories below:


Judged by an expert panel that includes industry figures and members of the profession, this is your chance to be recognised by the industry’s leading tax luminaries at an official awards ceremony in Hobart next year.

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, 18 September 2013

The Tax Institute in the 70s and 80s

This month, we continue to look at the history of the Institute throughout past decades.

As the 1970s began, the boom period of the previous decades was coming to an end. Unemployment and inflation began to rise, and Australia’s first Labor government in years was elected but lost public support by 1975. The shadow of the Vietnam War loomed, and Cyclone Tracy devastated Darwin in 1974.

Despite this, the Institute went from strength to strength during this period, particularly in terms of education and convention activity. By 1970, membership numbers had reached 3,068 and doubled by the end of the decade. Conventions were held annually in each state, and the second national convention was held in Adelaide in 1972, in Hobart in 1975, and in Surfers Paradise in 1977.

In 1974, an international tax conference was held in Singapore, and members of The Tax Institute made up half of the delegates, prompting the Institute to hold its own international conference in Hong Kong in 1979.

The Commonwealth Taxation Review Committee (Asprey Committee) was formed in 1972, and developing submissions to the committee made up much of the Institute’s activities in the first half of the decade.

The work involved in producing the submissions highlighted the need for dedicated tax research. In August 1976, the Taxation Institute of Australia Research and Education Trust was launched, with a part-time librarian employed by the Institute in 1979.

Complex anti-avoidance legislation was introduced during this period, and Harold Irving noted that: “It was very pleasing to note that the government had in fact acted on some of the submissions on amending legislation, and that the Treasurer had acknowledged the role of the Institute in persuading the government that some further amendments to the proposed legislation were desirable.”

Moving into the 1980s, continuing professional development continued to be a strong focus for the Institute, with the state, international and national conferences experiencing record numbers of attendees. Research continued to be an issue and together the Law Council of Australia, the Institute of Chartered Accountants and the Australian Society of Accountants established the Australian Tax Research Foundation.

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, 16 September 2013

Incoming Coalition government’s commitment to tax reform debate welcome

Following a five week long Federal Election campaign, the Coalition will soon be forming the next Government of Australia after a resounding win on 7 September.

After a long period of ad hoc changes, neglect of previous announcements and a stubborn refusal to discuss reform of taxes such as the GST, we are on the verge of a broad spectrum, all-inclusive white paper process on tax reform.

This week, The Tax Institute issued a media release commending the incoming Coalition government on their commitment to a meaningful and mature debate on tax reform. The media release also highlighted tax system challenges that the incoming government will need to address, such as over 100 announced but un-enacted tax measures.

We will also continue to work with the incoming government over the coming months to clarify the future of the loss carry back measure, the small business instant asset write-off and the cap on deductibility of self-education expenses.

The Tax Institute
Deepti Paton, CTA is 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, 13 September 2013

Tax. Be in it.

I’m just back from the 46th Western Australia State Convention at Bunker Bay.

The flight home provided the opportunity to reflect on some of the work being undertaken by National Council and our CEO in regard to membership participation in The Tax Institute’s activities.

It has become obvious to me that each state has its own particular way of operating, including in putting together their major state-based conventions. This year, WA did the double, not only hosting the national convention, but also running a state convention. A hard ask for any state.

It was inspirational to say the least.

The mood of the attendees was upbeat, their engagement and participation was high. The papers were well considered and presented with clarity.

Asking for a fancy dress dinner with a 1940s theme on top of all that would be trouble, you might think.

Not so in WA.

I was very impressed with the number of attendees who dressed up, and the trouble many of them took. More importantly, they all had fun, got involved and enjoyed being a part of the Institute, whether as an attendee, a speaker, an organising committee member or staff.

My experience at all such conferences, National Council meetings and working with Tax Institute staff and committees reinforces why the Institute is held, on any measure, to be the leading professional association in tax.

The reasons are simple. When you create an environment that provides opportunity for people to participate, to grow, to learn and to have fun, you have a great organisation.

We can’t stop there. The patterns of volunteering change as the demographics change. Your Institute is continuing to work on ensuring our members continue to actively participate in the Institute’s activities.

Now, can I ask one more thing? Please introduce a new member to the Institute to share what you already know to be the benefits of being part of Australia’s leading professional association in tax.

Thanks to everyone involved in organising the WA convention and the hospitality extended to me.

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.

Wednesday, 11 September 2013

August’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, 9 September 2013

50 years of Taxation in Australia

Join us as we celebrate 50 years of the Institute’s premier publication

2013 is a year of milestones for The Tax Institute, with our “blue journal” turning 50.

Since the inception of the Institute, information was distributed to members by way of circulars and memoranda. These were replaced in September 1963 by the journal you’re holding in your hands — Taxation in Australia. Available only to members, the journal has become highly respected and valued to the tax profession, and could not exist without the generous contributions of our members. I hope you’ll join me in wishing the journal a Happy 50th!

Free Careers in Tax Week webinars

In keeping with our mission to equip tax professionals with everything they need to demonstrate the highest level of expertise, The Tax Institute is proud to launch the new Careers in Tax Week.

Held from 20 to 26 September, the Careers in Tax Week features five free online sessions for those considering entering the tax profession to learn about the different roles and requirements for tax agents. There are various sessions to establish and build a career in tax, explaining tax agent responsibilities, and for those looking at registering as a tax (financial) adviser.

So, if you know of anyone who is considering a career in tax, encourage them to register to one of these free webinars.

70th anniversary – voices from history

As in the last two months, we continue the 70th anniversary series with more voices from history, as we recount the Institute’s history through the 70s and 80s and the changes that made the Institute and the tax system what they are today.

Managing trusts

The Institute’s Trust Roadshow is on again for 2013. Held in person in cities around the country and as a webinar, the event takes place over the course of a half-day. Expert presenters will lead you through the life cycle of a trust, exploring the latest issues through workshopping case studies.

Don’t miss your chance to build a strong knowledge base around closely held trusts — register on our website.

Monthly update webinars

This year, the Institute has been holding regular online tax updates, and these have proved to be hugely popular. They give you the chance to keep up to date with all of the latest developments without needing to leave your office.

We’ll be holding them again in 2014, and if you register now for the full series, you’ll receive the final two webinars for 2013 (October and November) free.

Two key events in Melbourne

Don’t miss two key events happening in Melbourne this month — the 2013 National GST Intensive and the 7th National Consolidation Symposium. Register online to ensure that you don’t miss out.

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.

Friday, 6 September 2013

Election 2013: 1 day to go

The 2013 Federal Election campaign is finally drawing to a close. We have seen varying promises made by both major parties giving an indication of what the tax landscape may look like. Though this will depend on which major party forms government following the 7 September 2013 election.

Small business has been promised a temporary increase to the instant asset write-off from $6,500 to $10,000, though the instant asset write-off could also be discontinued altogether. A greater number of businesses have been promised some assistance with their GST compliance if they are able to lodge their BAS annually.

Companies have been offered a company tax cut of 1.5%. The increase to the superannuation guarantee may be deferred by two years. The newly implemented loss carry-back measure may be discontinued.

A $2,000 cap on the amount of self-education expenses that can be claimed may be imposed. The statutory method used to calculate car fringe benefits may stay or may go.

Once the new government has been formed, we will all have a better idea of how the tax landscape will look; what new measures will be introduced and what existing measures may go. However, the main challenge still remains: tax reform, which requires a mature debate to ensure a sound tax system is constructed for the future.

The Tax Institute
Stephanie Caredes, CTA is 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.

Thursday, 5 September 2013

Speaker Profile: Daniel Butler, CTA

Daniel Butler, CTA, DBA Lawyers is presenting at the 1st Annual Tax Forum in Melbourne for the What’s Hot in Superannuation session.

Tell us about yourself

I am a tax and superannuation lawyer with 30 years’ experience from large CA and law firms, and now DBA Lawyers – a small tax and SMSF law firm in South Melbourne. DBA Lawyers was established over 20 years ago and have never looked back!

How long have you been affiliated with The Tax Institute?

I am a long time member, and have been happily affiliated with The Tax Institute since 1987.

What does the 1st Annual Tax Forum mean to you, and more broadly, to the tax industry?

It’s a great networking opportunity with the State’s top tax advisers presenting.

What is the topic that you are presenting at the 1st Annual Tax Forum?

I am presenting the “What’s Hot in Superannuation” session in the afternoon of Day 1.

What can attendees expect to take away from your session? 

I would like attendees to take away the key 5 strategies that tax advisers must be abreast of 2013 and beyond.

With recent legislative changes, advisers must keep ahead of the wave of change to ensure they don’t miss considerable opportunities for, and implement strategies that are detrimental to, their clients.

Which other sessions at the 1st Annual Tax Forum are you most interested in attending? 

There are many sessions that I like the look of, including some on the areas of trusts, SMEs, employee share schemes etc.

What do you like to do when you’re not knee-deep in tax?

I enjoy spending time with my family, and any remaining time on my road bike and surfing. With a young boy William and girl Katherine aged 12 and 14 years, I am kept busy – which is lots of fun.

1st Annual Tax Forum
Welcome to Victoria’s inaugural Tax Forum – a fresh new format for The Tax Institute’s premier event of the year. There has never been a better time to be a tax professional or to work in the tax domain. The relevance of the tax profession is stronger than ever.

Tuesday, 3 September 2013

Speaker Profile: Allan Swan, CTA

Allan Swan, CTA, Swan & Yii Pty Ltd is presenting at the 2013 Tasmanian State Convention for the Tax Issues in Business Succession Planning – Industry Focus topic.

Tell us about yourself

As a Director of the Melbourne law firm Swan & Yii Pty Ltd (as well as its training arm, Estate Planning EQUATION), I act for a diverse range of clients assisting them to achieve their personal objectives in respect of the wealth they own or control. My particular focus is working to pre-empt problems that may occur in the future, whether those problems might be taxation, business risk, family dispute or vulnerability.

My particular areas of practice centre on the legal aspects of asset and wealth management, eg:

  • asset protection
  • estate planning
  • ownership of funding
  • strategy
  • structuring
  • superannuation
  • tax
  • trusts.

How long have you been affiliated with The Tax Institute?

I joined The Tax Institute via the Victorian branch in 1988 and have been a member ever since. I’m now a CTA.

What does the 2013 Tasmanian State Convention mean to you, and more broadly, to the tax industry?

This will be my first Tasmanian State Convention (but probably my 20th trip to Tasmania as a presenter).  I have been a longstanding participant at National and Victorian conventions and other Institute professional development activities.

What is the topic that you are presenting at the 2013 Tasmanian State Convention?

My presentations at the 2013 Tasmanian State Convention will focus on two separate areas, namely business succession planning and SMSFs.

What can attendees expect to take away from your session?

My presentations will focus on practical issues and will have balance between tax considerations and other important business and investment considerations. Attendees can expect sessions that identify useful strategies for their clients business and investment structures.

Which other sessions at the 2013 Tasmanian State Convention are you most interested in attending?

I have a particular interest in CGT, duty, superannuation, trusts and estate planning issues and I expect I will find the sessions of particular interest when the focus is on these issues.

What do you like to do when you’re not knee-deep in tax?

Of particular importance to me is maintaining a work-life balance; from time to time I find I have let myself skew my focus in favour of work. I am fortunate to have a fantastic wife who will be taking time off work to travel to Tasmania with me. We have four adult children and we share interests in travel, playing tennis and the outdoors and a common Christian faith. I am also a bridge player, (sadly at the moment) an Essendon supporter and wide ranging reader.

2013 Tasmanian State Convention
The Tasmanian State Council and the Tasmanian Convention Organising Committee warmly invite you to attend our 2013 Tasmanian State Convention featuring a line-up of outstanding speakers which will provide two days that are guaranteed to educate and stimulate.

Monday, 2 September 2013

Election 2013: One week to go

The Federal Election campaign has run for almost four full weeks, with only one week left to go.

Disappointingly, neither major party has yet shown much willingness to talk about the tax reforms needed to ensure our system is well prepared for the challenges of the decades ahead.

Despite much talk of debt and deficits, the focus has remained on "saves" over the forward estimates period rather than long term structural reform, with a familiar GST scare campaign thrown in for good measure.

The Henry Review pointed out that "Australia has too many taxes and too many complicated ways of delivering multiple policy objectives through the tax system".

Since that review, our tax system has continued to languish under the weight of policy on the run, neglect of previous announcements and an ongoing refusal to discuss taxes such as the GST.

Issues such as trusts taxation reform remain outstanding, while hard won measures such as tax loss carry back stand to be stripped back. Especially concerning is the lack of clarity in relation to the raft of announced but un-enacted measures: a list that will surely be added to after the Election.

Meaningful reform may now seem like a luxury, but will soon become a necessity.

Our major political parties can and must do better on the issue of tax reform. We'll be sure to remind them as the last week of campaigning winds down.

The Tax Institute
Deepti Paton, CTA is 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.