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Showing posts from September, 2013

Briefing the new Government on tax

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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 CTA is Senior Tax Counsel of The Tax Institute.

The Tax Institute is Australia’s leading professional ass…

Reflecting on the WA Convention Keynote

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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 …

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

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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 …

Abbott Government Treasury announcement

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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…

Introducing the free membership trial

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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…

Proud to launch the Tax Adviser of the Year Awards 2014

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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:

Emerging Tax Star AwardTax Adviser of the Year AwardChartered Tax Adviser of the Year Award
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 Inst…

The Tax Institute in the 70s and 80s

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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 Commo…

Incoming Coalition government’s commitment to tax reform debate welcome

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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.

Deepti Paton, CTA is Tax Counsel of The Tax…

Tax. Be in it.

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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, go…

August’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.

Practical GST issues presentation (Bastian Gasser, ATI)R&D tax incentive - Our experience presentation (Anne Hinton)R&D tax incentive overview presentation (Steve Peters)R&D experiences presentation (Tim Siebert)Tax challenges of an international workforce presentation (Murray Howlett, CTA and Tim Hands, CTA)Restructuring for growth presentation (Craig Barry, CTA)Asset protection presentation (Brian J Richards, CTA)Restructuring the family business presentation (Peter J McKnoulty, CTA)Funding expansions presentation (Dean Rallison, CTA)The self-assessment experience presentation (Sally Newman, CTA an…

50 years of Taxation in Australia

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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 diff…

Election 2013: 1 day to go

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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 …

Speaker Profile: Daniel Butler, CTA

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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…

Speaker Profile: Allan Swan, CTA

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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 protectionestate planningownership of fundingstrategystructuringsuperannuationtaxtrusts.
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 Tasmani…

Election 2013: One week to go

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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.…