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Showing posts from October, 2013

Consultation – never simple

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Consultation — “a regulatory process by which the public’s input on matters affecting them is sought. Its main goals are in improving the efficiency, transparency and public involvement in large-scale projects or laws and policies” (Wikipedia — source of all truth). Easy said, never simple.

Last month saw the ATO’s revised consultation framework presented to the National Tax Liaison Group for comment. Broadly, the aim of the revised framework is to reduce the number of consultative forums being conducted by the ATO, but at the same time improve the quality and efficiency of the consultations. The structure of ATO consultation now involves establishing eight stewardship committees:

the National Tax Liaison Group the Large Business Liaison Group the Small/Medium Business Liaison Group the Individual Taxpayer Liaison Group the ATO Tax Practitioner Advisory Group the Not for Profit Advisory Group the GST Advisory Group the Superannuation (Industry) Advisory Group
and a “hub” for all other …

Examining the TPB’s Strategic Plan

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Earlier last week, The Tax Institute met with the Tax Practitioners Board at their Consultative Forum. Members will have seen that last week the Board released their Strategic Plan 2013-15. The Board emphasised that the main objective of their existence is for consumer protection by ensuring tax agent services that are provided to the public meet relevant professional and ethical standards.

In this regard, the Board plays an important role in issuing guidance to registered tax agents and the public about the standards that tax agents are required to meet. This is demonstrated by the suite of guidance products that are available on the Board’s website, and which is growing, as the Board continues to issue products on aspects of the Code of Professional Conduct (among other things), such as on the requirement to take reasonable care and to manage conflicts appropriately.

Currently, of great focus, is the extension of the Tax Agent Services Regime to apply to financial advisers who provi…

Ten estate planning strategies – free from Estate & Business Succession Planning

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View these ten strategies, taken from Estate & Business Succession Planning, 6th Edition, covering:

the nuclear family the wealthy nuclear familyproblem childrenthe blended family the blended family and life interestelderly and singlesame-sex couplesdealing with the family trustdealing with public offer superannuation interestdealing with a self-managed superannuation fund.
View these ten strategies online, and purchase your copy of Estate & Business Succession Planning, 6th Edition from our website today.

Bernie O’Sullivan, CTA, is Principal of Bernie O’Sullivan Lawyers, an independent law firm that specialises in wealth succession. He advises individuals and their advisers in regard to estate planning, superannuation, family trusts and business succession, and acts in disputes relating to these arrangements. Bernie is the author of Estate & Business Succession Planning, now in its sixth edition, and a regular presenter at The Tax Institute’s seminars and conventions.

October CPD updates and 2014 dates for your diary

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Careers in Tax Week

Last month we held our very first online Careers in Tax Week, where over 600 people attended webinars to help them understand the important roles of working in tax. Keep an eye out for similar careers events — and as always, we appreciate your feedback.

2013 Annual Business and Professional Study

As in previous years, The Tax Institute will again participate in the annual business and professional study conducted by Beaton Consulting. This survey will assist us in identifying areas where there may be scope to improve member services and add further value to membership.

You will receive the survey via email in November. We appreciate your feedback as this helps us to ensure that we continue to do things right.

2014 education key dates out now

The key dates and calendars for all of our certificate courses for 2014 are out now. Check out the website for early bird, start and closing dates for The Chartered Tax Adviser Program, the Course in Australian Taxation Law, the

Voices from history: Sabina Donnolley

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Sabina Donnolley, CTA, of Donnolley Rush.

How long have you been a member of the Institute?

I became a member of The Tax Institute in 1993.

What are some of the highlights of your time as a member?

The first national conference I attended in Queensland in 1993. I was absolutely amazed at the quality of the presentations, how friendly everyone was and, as a small practitioner, the access I had to information and help if I needed it. Then being appointed by the Institute as a tax practitioner member on the practitioner’s forum — during that three-year appointment I learned a lot and was happy to be able to say that I could make a change or I could voice when something was wrong on behalf of small practitioners.

How has the Institute helped shaped the profession during your membership?

I think the Institute has done an enormous amount to shape the profession and to shape members because it’s a lobby group. Often you believe you have a right to say that something is wrong with tax legislatio…

29th National Convention speakers and program just announced

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Download the newly released technical program and register early to join us in Hobart – named as one of Lonely Planet’s top 10 destinations for 2013.

Whether you’re just starting out in tax or you’ve been to as many National Conventions as we have (29 and counting!), we hope you’re planning to join us in Hobart in 2014.

At the convention, you’ll hear from leading tax luminaries like:

The Hon. Justice Stephen Gageler presenting the Justice Graham Hill Memorial LectureChris Jordan, AO, Commissioner of TaxationSimon Steward, SC, speaking on the Tax Deductibility of InterestProfessor Gino Dal Pont from the University of Tasmania speaking on Ethics in Practice for Tax Advisers. 
Earn 15 structured CPD hours, grow your business and professional profile by networking with colleagues from around Australia and get answers that will help you help your clients.

Experience a technically relevant and practical program developed for tax professionals like you by some of the best and brightest minds …

Australia not immune to debt crisis

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Last week the United States teetered on the brink of defaulting on its debt, with the government in its second week of shutdown. The possible global ramifications cannot be overlooked. This includes the potential impact on Australia. Pleasingly it seems a deal has now been reached in the US.

We saw through the global financial crisis that we are not immune from world events in this increasingly interconnected global economy. However, it is clear that Australia’s economic position is in stark contrast to the US.

With this is mind, it is encouraging to hear the Australian government speaking of ‘a new era of reform’ in this electoral term. This week the Treasurer has recommitted to a tax reform program after wide consultation with key stakeholders. A green paper will precede a white paper on tax reform options, then, with the core principles of fairness and simplicity in mind, the government will seek endorsement from the electorate for their plan at the 2016 election.

We have long call…

Technical Committee review

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The Tax Institute is progressing a review of our own Technical Committee structures and ways to link, support and involve our membership in this new consultation environment. A draft framework is being developed for consideration and input from the state councils, committees and members involved.

Consultation with the ATO is important and The Tax Institute’s role in this was acknowledged by the Commissioner in our regular catch-up, but the Institute’s consultation role extends much further to consulting with Treasury, other arms of government, international bodies and business.

Our new parliament is being formed and new faces in new roles require reconnections and then links to what will be the priorities of government. It has not gone unnoticed that we still have a backlog of tax measures to be addressed, not to mention areas requiring reform, such as trusts and Div 7A. As the new government comes to terms with its agenda and outstanding matters, we will cement our role with the new …

How do tax issues impact the financial services industry?

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Join us on the Gold Coast next February at the Financial Services Taxation Conference to find out, and earn 16.75 structured CPD hours.

Wide-ranging topics

With a jam-packed 2014 program just released, the conference is your opportunity to hear expert speakers explore wide-ranging issues affecting you and your clients, such as:

Transfer pricing rulesPart IVATrusts Policy and reform974Division 6C and MITPPSA...and more
Pre-conference sessions

The optional pre-conference sessions will look at the impact of base erosion and profit shifting (BEPS), and how it will affect the domestic legislation of Australia and our trading partners.

Earlybird registration options

Organise your 2014 CPD now and you’ll receive a significant earlybird discount. Register before Friday 13 December to save.

2014 Financial Services Taxation Conference

The annual Financial Services Taxation Conference is the flagship conferencefor practitioners and in-house tax advisers from across Australia to discuss current issues …

Voices from History - Nick Heggart, CTA

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Nick Heggart, CTA, of Greenwoods & Freehills.

How long have you been a member of the Institute?

14 years.

What are some of the highlights of your time as a member?

I still remember the first few seminars I attended and how inspiring it was to be exposed to the knowledge of those presenting. As a young tax professional, I got a lot out of those seminars. The annual state convention in the Margaret River wine region is also a highlight. Seeing 100+ tax nerds hit the dance floor at the gala dinner is particularly entertaining.

How has the Institute helped shaped the profession during your membership?

Personally, I have focused on the educational offering of The Tax Institute and so, obviously, this is what I reflect on. I think The Tax Institute has a unique offering in terms of the quality and depth of its seminars and conventions. This provides an opportunity for aspiring professionals to make their mark and for the broader tax community to benefit from their knowledge and enthusiasm …

The shifting sands of tax

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The mammoth list of unlegislated tax measures has long been a cause of real concern for tax professionals and again it seems to be getting some traction in the media.

The Tax Institute has been the leading advocate for action to address the growing length of this 'unenacted' tax law list - a list that the Department of Treasury admits now exceeds 120 revenue measures.

The stockpile of outstanding tax changes is fuelling uncertainty in the business community and hampering investment.

Business confidence has been eroded by a tax system that is constantly being built and rebuilt on shifting sands. Uncertainty creates confusion amongst taxpayers as to the appropriate manner in which to treat a range of planned transactions. This uncertainty requires affected taxpayers to in some cases simply guess what the likely tax law will be. This outcome heightens the tax risk profile of the taxpayer, which in turn causes unnecessary compliance and resourcing costs.

Tax professionals welcome T…

Nominations are now open for the Tax Adviser of the Year Awards

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Hopefully by now you have heard about The Tax Institute’s inaugural Tax Adviser of the Year Awards. Designed to recognise the profession’s highest achievers, the awards continue the Institute’s commitment to honouring the best and brightest professionals in the tax industry.

If you believe these awards resonate with you, or a colleague or employer of yours, this is your chance to be recognised by the industry’s leading tax luminaries as nominations opened on 1 October 2013.

Nominations close 10 December 2013

Nominate yourself, a colleague or industry peer in one of three award categories:

Emerging Tax Star AwardTax Adviser of the YearChartered Tax Adviser of the Year
The awards will be judged by senior tax practitioners according to a set of criteria for each category and will be presented at an official awards ceremony in Hobart next year.

For further information about the awards, please contact our Tax Adviser of the Year Awards Division on +61 2 8223 0014 or email.

Noel Rowland is Chie…

Voices from history - Andrew Mills

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Andrew Mills, CTA of Greenwoods & Freehills and Tax Institute Institute President from 2006-07.

What were some of the highlights of your time as president of The Tax Institute?

Probably two things come to mind. One was a real desire to make sure that the CPD program was touching as many members as possible. There were particular parts that we thought weren't reaching all of the membership base, so a concerted effort made sure we had streaming of sessions, focusing on special topics such as corporates and SMEs, and so on, so that members can pick and choose what they need to get the most out of the programs.

Also, the beginning of what is now the CTA program. Back then, it was under a different banner but it was really trying to get the formal structured education program up and running. It started with my predecessor, and I guess with all projects, you’re just part of a continuum because the strategy is set jointly with all of the national board members working together so that…

SMSFs and the property price bubble

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Last week we saw media interest once again turning to the superannuation sector. This followed comments made by the Reserve Bank of Australia that were interpreted as suggesting that SMSFs were contributing to a property price bubble. The Assistant Treasurer, Senator the Hon Arthur Sinodinos AO, was moved to publicly reassure the sector that the Government is not looking at any sudden changes to the laws affecting SMSFs.

In this context it is worth recalling the recent survey of Tax Institute members' key policy priorities. The number one member priority was an equitable and sustainable superannuation system for the long-term.

Superannuation is our nest egg. It's the stashed away cash that we all trust will be safe and secure for years to come and will be there when we need it to fund our retirement. It is the ultimate long-term investment. However, it is an investment made on the basis of a core compact between every Australian and Government: we agree to forgo part of our in…